03.09.10

What Happens to BrainShare and the SCO Trial Now That Novell’s Future is Uncertain?

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Novell at 4:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

US Supreme Court under construction

Summary: With Novell’s big decision perhaps just days away, questions remain about the immediate ramifications (affecting this month)

A SALE of Novell may be imminent [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], so CBR goes through some of Novell’s history in this new article that says:

Novell was founded in Provo, Utah as Novell Data Systems Inc way back in 1979, by George Canova, Darin Field, and Jack Davis. Canova’s wife came up with the name Novell, mistakenly believing that it meant ‘new’ in French. It started life making disk operating systems, but was reincorporated as Novell Inc in 1983 after a venture capital injection, and turned its attention to designing network hardware. In May of that year Ray Noorda became president and CEO, and it introduced NetWare that same year.

In 1997 Noorda was succeeded by Eric Schmidt, who is CEO of Google today. Schmidt accelerated efforts to leverage Novell’s core networking strengths in the Internet arena, soon launching NetWare 5 and Novell Directory Services (NDS), with native support for the Internet communications protocol (IP).

The firm bought services firm Cambridge Technology Partners in 2001 as it diversified yet further, and the former CEO of Cambridge, Jack Messman, took over the reins at Novell.

SCO will receive some more funds from its former employee, Ralph Yarro [1, 2, 3, 4], who is betting (along with others) on the trial against Novell and against Linux. The H has just covered this:

The SCO Group is to receive 2 million dollars from a group of investors headed by majority shareholder Ralph Yarro. Following an oral hearing, the Delaware bankruptcy court dealing with SCO has approved the loan. This means that the company now has sufficient funds for the pending jury trial against Novell. The trial, which is to address rights to Unix and the legality of protective licences for Linux users, is set to start today and is expected to last three weeks.

This trial intersects with the bid for Novell and BrainShare too. The VAR Guy reckons that Novell must decide whether to accept this takeover offer very soon, or else it can spell a disaster for BrainShare.

During the conference, attendees and the press (and persistent anonymous bloggers) won’t be able to avoid the temptation to ask — over and over again — Novell’s ownership status, which ultimately influences the future of SUSE Linux and Novell’s other products.

At the least: Watch for Novell’s board to offer an update on the Elliott Associates bid within the next few days. The result could be a company sale or an outright rejection of Elliot Associates’ offer. Either way, Novell needs to provide an update before BrainShare starts. Without that update, Novell’s ownership status could become a distracting topic during the conference.

BrainShare was canceled last year after it had failed to attract attendants [1, 2]. Novell can hopefully make up its mind very soon.

Latest Failures in Windows Mobile, Zune, and Xbox 360

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Your number

Summary: Windows Phone 7 dumps old applications, Zune has an error, and Xbox remains a struggle (all of these areas have lost money for Microsoft)

LAST WEEK we wrote about Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce.com, calling Microsoft “somewhat disgusting”. We examined it more closely and showed that Microsoft continues to attack rivals rather than concentrate on improving its own products. More recently, Benioff was quoted ranting about Microsoft and saying that “they’re nowhere” in mobile, which is increasingly true. Here are some more bits from his talk:

Seattle Times Biz-Tech reporter Sharon Chan recently caught Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff’s session and found him “rolling with a Microsoft (News – Alert) rant.”

As usual, Benioff had opinions and wasn’t shy about expressing them. “In the world of mobile, which is only behind social” in importance, Benioff said, Microsoft “are nowhere.”

Today we look at Microsoft in the mobile space. Microsoft is trying to ‘pull a Vista’ and pretend that its next version of Windows Mobile will be a totally new product (it even has a new name/brand). Well, it’s not. It’s not even backward compatible. What a disaster, just like Vista.

The word is now official: “Existing Windows Mobile apps won’t run on Windows Phone 7″

The rumors about Microsoft totally cutting the compatibility cord with Windows Phone 7 were true.

Charlie Kindel, Microsoft Partner Group Program Manager for the Windows Phone Application Platform & Developer Experience, in a March 4 blog post, acknowledged that existing Windows Mobile apps won’t be able to run on Windows Phone 7 devices.

This is also covered by the LA Times and in LA Times Blogs we find some more details (not included in the main article).

Emphasizing its departure from its previous generation of mobile devices, Microsoft Corp. on Thursday said its new Windows Phone 7 Series devices won’t run programs from older versions of Windows-based phones.

Also, for the inquisitive:

Windows Phone 7 not backwards compatible

Microsoft to launch incompatible telephone

Microsoft News – Microsoft: No Old Apps for New Windows Phones

Microsoft Says New Windows Phones Won’t Run Current Apps

This happens to mean no Skype, not even some Adobe programs. Developers walk away. One article asks, “Is Microsoft already stumbling with Windows Phone 7?”

Microsoft’s current mobile OS, Windows Mobile 6.5 – hardly a critical darling – will soldier on until the release of the new OS. And, as analyst Carl D. Howe said to Fortune’s tech blog, “Microsoft just took a gun and pointed it at the head of Windows 6.5 and said, ‘Don’t buy this’.”

Citing the Yankee Group, Fortune/CNN writes:

“Microsoft just took a gun and pointed it at the head of Windows 6.5 and said, ‘Don’t buy this’,” says Yankee Group analyst Carl D. Howe. “If I were HTC or one of their other handset customers, I’d be pretty mad.”

There will be no upgrades either, so regular fans of Windows Mobile are disappointed.

Well, what about the Windows Mobile sibling, Zune? Microsoft still messes up.

Zune HD Facebook app bombs on launch

[...]

Microsoft says it has successfully solved a communication issue between Facebook and the new Facebook app for Zune HD. The problem kept Zune users from viewing the Facebook News Feed.

Microsoft fixed it later (not that many people noticed, as very few actually use this gadget). Is this Microsoft’s expected level of product quality? And how about Xbox 360, which is probably the best example of atrocious hardware? Here is some Xbox 360 news from the past week:

When good game consoles go bad

Microsoft still says ‘no’ to Xbox Live in Eastern Europe

They say it every year. Microsoft has been promising Xbox Live since 2006 – and Polish gamers still don’t have it.

250GB Xbox 360 drive arriving March 23 in US? – Retail Radar

GameStop lists, pulls listing for $130 expanded storage unit for Microsoft’s console; Microsoft mum.

Microsoft’s Toulouse: Why I suspended an Xbox Live user for reciting the Declaration of Independence

Gay Xbox Gamers Can Now Claim Their Identities

That last one does not mention the homophobia at Microsoft. There’s a long history there.

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