EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

11.29.10

Novell’s Last Week – Part I: Novell Was Bought by Microsoft, Argue Pundits

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 7:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steven J. Vaughan-NicholsSummary: Opinions and takes on the Novell-AttachMSFT agreement, which puts ammunition in Microsoft’s hands

Boycotting Novell was the original purpose of this Web site, so we stay dedicated to Novell as a topic and today we will provide detailed coverage based on the past week’s news. We have gone through hundreds of articles and collected some of the best of them.

When it comes to Novell’s sale, Techrights offered a lot of coverage one week ago (around a dozen posts and a dedicated episode of TechBytes), which was the last week Novell made the headlines in its transitory state. Novell will no longer report results as a public company and it is already being turned into a fur ball of code and marketing, which will be sold to Microsoft-bound entities 4 years and 20 days after selling out to Microsoft.

“We have gone through hundreds of articles and collected some of the best of them.”As usual, IDG has its hands on a lot of the coverage. Centralisation of reporting power is never a healthy thing, but getting a perspective from many sources (even biased ones) is the way to understand the different sides and then strike balance. First of all, Network World staff (IDG) wrote some Novell history and Paul McNamara who was among the group writing it concentrated on Eric Schmidt when he published “Why any great career move should be known as ‘a Schmidt’”. For those who do now know, Schmidt was once Novell’s CEO. As McNamara put it: “The thought arose as I compiled a Novell corporate timeline to accompany our coverage of its acquisition by Attachmate. Schmidt was CEO at Novell in 2001 when he was asked to and did indeed take the top spot at Google. The rest is not only history but has prompted me over the years to wonder: Has anyone in any field ever made a better career move?”

Also see the article “Pull a ‘Schmidt’ and Jump at Opportunity” and this memory of WordPerfect.

Remember WordPerfect back in the 90′s? That went bust thanks to a crumbling relationship between Novell and the WordPerfect executive team. Poor relationships can bring down entire products, and even business empires.

Novell has an extensive legacy as a Microsoft rival, so it cannot be easily picked up by Microsoft. However, Novell seems to have found an antitrust loophole and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (SJVN) involuntarily shows that Techrights‘ “Boycott Novell” was right on target all along. Writing for IDG, SJVN published the article “Dark horse Attachmate buys Novell, Microsoft helps”. He says that “VMware wanted to buy Novell, but the virtualization company didn’t want to buy everything that Novell’s board wanted to sell. At the same time, Microsoft had made it clear that it hated the idea of VMware, a Microsoft rival, ending up as Novell’s owner. The result was that Attachmate bought Novell for $2.2 billion while Microsoft paid $450 million for as yet unnamed Novell intellectual property.”

But here comes another post from SJVN. This IDG blog coverage from a longtime supporter of Novell bears the headline “Who really bought Novell? Microsoft.”

Who really bought Novell? Of course, I know that Attachmate is the company that’s on record as purchasing Novell for $2.2-billion, while Microsoft shelled out $450 million for some Novell intellectual property. But tell me, where did Attachmate get $2.2-billion? Could it have been Microsoft? I think so.

I’ve covered Attachmate over the years, so I knew who they were when the news broke that Attachmate had purchased Novell. What I couldn’t see was where the heck they had gotten the money for the deal. Attachmate’s main business over the years has been software terminal emulation. That’s a business line that’s been dying ever since the Web came along in the early 90s.

[...]

Instead Microsoft used Attachmate as a proxy to take Novell off the operating system chess board as an independent Linux company. At the same time, it retains enough direct and in-direct control of Novell and its intellectual property to put them into play if needed to put trouble into Red Hat, Android, or Ubuntu’s paths.

I don’t have a bit of proof for this mind you. Both Attachmate and Microsoft are being remarkably close-mouthed about what exactly they’ve bought and what they plan for their pieces of Novell. What I do have is decades of watching Microsoft bully its opposition. From that viewpoint, this seems like a logical Microsoft move.

“Novell is dead and Microsoft has eaten its heart” says another opinion piece from IDG and the official IDG news coverage is a lot more toned down and objective (“Microsoft purchasing 882 Novell patents”). Here is an update and discussion at LWN, which has some very insightful contributors.

Update: Novell’s 8K filing is available with a bit more information. The “certain intellectual property” is 882 patents. There is also an escape clause for Novell should somebody come along with an offer for the company that includes buying the patents.

Reuters has an interesting blog post titled “Deals wrap: Novell deal a Microsoft maneuver?”

Sam Varghese, a longtime Novell critic, says that “Microsoft buys insurance from Novell” (there are more posts that go along those lines, especially in blogs).

There’s no escaping the fact that Microsoft got those software patents from Novell. “Red Hat had “no comment” about the Microsoft purchase of the Novell patents,” wrote the person who reported for IDG on the patent sale. There’s an ongoing debate as to what Microsoft targets with those patents. Some say it’s Linux and others say it’s some of Novell’s proprietary software competitors. Simon Phipps writes: “That’s reading further than the data permits. Best guess I have seen so far is WordPerfect and PlateSpin are the targets.”

Matt Asay, Canonical’s COO (and formerly of Novell) argues that Microsoft and Attachmate were not Novell’s destiny. It’s a decent article (except the Mono boosting) and it suggests that Microsoft did not get all of Novell’s patents, just many of them

Under Hovsepian’s watch, Novell cozied up to Microsoft, gaining short-term revenue but losing long-term leadership points as Novell distanced itself from the open-source community that has supported Red Hat’s rise to a $750m Linux and middleware juggernaut. More recently, Hovsepian managed to spend eight months shopping Novell after an Elliott bid, only to eke out six per cent more from Attachmate. Was it worth it?

No, but apparently there simply wasn’t much interest in buying Novell, as The 451 Group’s Brenon Daly points out:

[B]eyond all of the complications around matchmaking is the fundamental fact that Novell just isn’t that attractive, regardless of whatever business we look at inside the company. Each component of its revenue (license, maintenance/subscription, services) has dropped so far this year, which is part of the reason why Novell has come up short of Wall Street expectations every quarter this year. Overall, sales have dropped six per cent in 2010, and current projections call for Novell’s revenue to decline next year, too. So as we look at it, the board probably did a fair job to get Novell valued at $1.2bn (net of cash), which works out to basically 1.5 times sales.

He should not have mentioned Mono the way he did because it is bound to make people worried about Ubuntu’s direction with Mono. But that’s the subject of part II in this series.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Microsoft Keeps Pretending to be 'Open Source', Despite Relentless Assaults on Open Source

    Microsoft's charm offensives against Free/libre software are proving to be rather effective, despite them involving a gross distortion of facts and exploitation of corruptible elements in the corporate media



  2. Željko Topić and Ivan Šimonović, Two Residues of Ivo Sanader's Corrupt Regime, Seen as Indirectly Connected

    Further exploration of the remnants of Sanader's highly notorious record and those whom he had brought to power before he landed in jail



  3. Links 27/3/2015: Ubuntu 15.04 Second Beta, Dart 1.9

    Links for the day



  4. The EPO's Dutch Scandal Leaves Battistelli and His Cronies on the Run

    EPO management is making concessions and issues statements which admit defeat, allowing the staff union to continue its activities



  5. Microsoft Won't Let People Wipe (Off) Windows But Happily Wipes Android, Wipes Android Apps Through Cyanogen and Blackmailed 'Partners'

    Microsoft's obscene double-standards leave Android and Linux between a rock and a hard place



  6. Links 26/3/2015: GNOME 3.16 Officially Released

    Links for the day



  7. Links 25/3/2015: India Moving to Free Software

    Links for the day



  8. Another Reason to Boycott UEFI: Back Doors or Crackers

    UEFI makes computers more prone to infections, according to some security experts



  9. The EPO's Administrative Council is Under Increased Pressure to Rein in and to Finally Stop Benoît Battistelli

    The EPO's Administrative Council (AC) is about to have a meeting, so the Member States' delegations are urged to call for action



  10. IRC Proceedings: February 22nd - March 21st, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  11. The Latest Microsoft Attacks on GNU/Linux and Free/Libre Software

    Microsoft is still hiding behind the façade of 'love' whilst actively attacking GNU/Linux and Free software from many directions



  12. Attempts to Disrupt Android by Pushing Microsoft Software Into It (Using Patent Blackmail and Cyanogen)

    Microsoft's Android coup d'état is succeeding owing to public apathy and poor comprehension of what Microsoft really is up to, partly due to media misdirection



  13. Links 24/3/2015: WebKitGTK+ 2.8.0, Black Lab Linux 6.5

    Links for the day



  14. Concerns Over Željko Topić's Alleged Powerful Links in Croatian Diplomacy

    Rikard Frgačić explains the powerful connections acquired though Ivan Šimonović, who is himself connected to EPO Vice-President Željko Topić



  15. Benoît Battistelli's EPO Comes Under Fire From Prominent Figures Who Are Key EPO Stakeholders, Expect Battistelli to Resign 'in the Longer Term'

    The ‘reign of terror’ which is primarily attributed to Battistelli and his cronies may be about to end; the Luxembourg parliament approves the Unified Patent Court



  16. Benoît Battistelli's EPO is Under Attack From French Politicians Yet Again

    More EPO interventions -- this time from France -- target Benoît Battistelli over his abuses and take it up to Eurocrats for political actions



  17. Bribes and Extortion Help Turn Android (Linux-powered) Into 'Microsoft Android'

    A strategy involving harassment and bribes drives large Android players into Microsoft's arms (PRISM and lock-in), much to Google's (and users') detriment and beyond regulators' range of visibility



  18. Microsoft-connected Black Duck Software Created by Microsoft Marketing Man as an Anti-GPL Operation, Admits the Management

    Black Duck "was founded [on] the idea ... to keep GPL-licensed code out of corporate codebases entirely," according to a new report



  19. Links 23/3/2015: Linux 4.0 RC5, Kubuntu Celebrates Ten Years

    Links for the day



  20. Microsoft Admits Lying (or Deceiving) About the Cost of Vista 10

    After much hype in the press about Windows being 'free' it turns out that Microsoft just lied yet again, leaving that lingering perception that Windows is as inexpensive as GNU/Linux



  21. Politics of Blackmail at the EPO

    Comments serve to highlight the role of bribes (or contrariwise blackmail), as allegedly exercised by the current management of the European Patent Office



  22. Benoît Battistelli's EPO Comes Under Attack From the British

    A British MEP criticises Battistelli and the management of the European Patent Office (EPO) while Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, UK Minister for Intellectual Property, gets closer to Battistelli in a tactless effort to improve relations



  23. The Royal Norwegian Department of Labour on the Right of European Patent Office (EPO) Workers to Strike

    The role of bureaucrats from Norway in defending (or not) the rights of EPO workers -- rights that the EPO's management is actively trying to deny and punish for



  24. Michael Silver Back to Acting as Gartner's Microsoft Agent, Promoting Vista 10 Based on False Promises

    Vista 10 in the headlines as its marketing propaganda zones in on false perceptions around cost, aided in part by longtime foes of GNU/Linux such as Gartner, especially its Microsoft-embedded elements (Michael Silver and co-workers)



  25. Despite Media Propaganda About Security, Microsoft Windows Remains the Least Secure Operating System, by Design

    Amid highly misleading security-centric reports that rely on Microsoft's bogus number of vulnerabilities (Microsoft already admitted hiding many of them) Techrights presents recent news about Windows 'security'



  26. Canonical Goes to Bed With Company That Sues Linux Using Software Patents and Copyrights (Through SCO)

    Despite Microsoft's continued assault on GNU/Linux, Canonical is foolish enough to give Microsoft control over many Ubuntu instances



  27. Links 22/3/2015: GNOME 3.16 Shaping Up, LibrePlanet 2015

    Links for the day



  28. Microsoft Hates Linux - Part VI - Propaganda Wars Against Free Software Facilitated While Media Control is Secured and Abused

    How Microsoft systematically lies to the public, including decision-makers and officials who can be tricked into choosing proprietary software, thinking it is in fact "open"



  29. Microsoft Hates Linux - Part V - Dumping and Surveillance to Counter GNU/Linux Insurgence

    Microsoft makes false claims about future versions of Windows (with more surveillance) becoming 'free' in order to stop migrations to GNU/Linux



  30. Microsoft Hates Linux - Part IV - Deleting, Attacking Android/Linux From Within

    Microsoft 'loves' Linux so much that it is trying to get on top of Linux and then delete Linux


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts