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. Links 16/12/2017: Mesa 17.2.7, Wine 3.0 RC2, Kdenlive 17.12.0, Mir 0.29

    Links for the day



  2. Patrick Corcoran is Innocent, Yet Battistelli Will/May Have the Power to Sack Him Next Month (in DG1)

    The EPO's Administrative Council does not want to even mention Patrick Corcoran, as merely bringing that up might lead to the suggestion that Benoît Battistelli should be fired (yes, they can fire him), but to set the record straight, at the EPO truth-tellers are punished and those whom they expose are shielded by the Administrative Council



  3. Patent Trolls Are Going Bust in the United States (Along With the 'Protection' Racket Conglomerates)

    RPX continues its gradual collapse and patent trolls fail to find leverage now that software patents are kaput and patent opportunists struggle to access Texan courts



  4. IBM's Manny Schecter is Wrong Again and He is Attempting to Justify Patent Trolling

    In yet another dodgy effort to undermine the US Supreme Court and bring back software patents, IBM's "chief patent counsel" (his current job title) expresses views that are bunk or "alternative facts"



  5. EPO Administrative Council Disallows Discussion About Violations of the Law by Benoît Battistelli

    The EPO crisis is not ending for the Administrative Council does not want to tackle any of the obvious problems; Patrick Corcoran is a taboo subject and Ernst is coming across as another protector of Benoît Battistelli, based on today's meeting (the second meeting he chairs)



  6. Links 13/12/2017: GIMP 2.9.8, Fedora 25 End Of Life, AltOS 1.8.3

    Links for the day



  7. Judge Corcoran Got His User ID/Desk Back (as ILO Asked), But Cannot Perform Actual Work

    The latest update regarding Patrick Corcoran, whose 3-year ordeal is far from over in spite of ILO's unambiguous rulings in his favour



  8. The End of Software Patents and PTAB's Role in Enforcing That End

    Software patents are fast becoming a dying breed and the appeal board (PTAB) of the USPTO accelerates this trend, irrespective of patent immunity attempts



  9. No, China Isn't Most Innovative, It's Just Granting a Lot of Low-Quality Patents

    Patent extremists are trying to make China look like a role model or a success story because China grants far too many patents, spurring an explosion in litigation



  10. Battistelli-Campinos Transition Will Be a Smooth One as the Administrative Council Remains the Same and the Boards Still Besieged

    A rather pessimistic (albeit likely realistic) expectation from tomorrow's meeting of the Administrative Council, which continues to show that no lessons were learned and no strategy will be altered to avoid doom (low-quality patents and stocks running out)



  11. Links 12/12/2017: New BlackArch ISO and Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  12. German Media Helps Cover Up -- Not Cover -- the Latest EPO Scandal

    EPO-Handelsblatt attention diversion tricks may be effective as German media barely shows interest in one of the EPO's biggest scandals to date



  13. PTAB Haters Fail to Guard Bogus Patents, But They Still Try

    Three Affiliated Tribes probably won't enjoy sovereign immunity from PTAB, Dennis Crouch won't manage to slow down PTAB, and patent litigation will stagnate as bad patents perish before they even land in a lawsuit



  14. Team UPC's Tilmann Defends Rogue Vote at 1 AM in the Morning With Just 5% of Politicians (Those With Vested Interests) Attending

    Just when German democracy is being stolen by a legislative coup (in the dead of night when 95% of politicians are absent/asleep) there's someone 'courageous' enough to rear his ugly head and attempt to justify that coup



  15. The Mask Falls: Lobbyist David Kappos Now Composes Pieces for the Patent Trolls' Lobby (IAM)

    David Kappos, a former USPTO Director who is now lobbying for large corporations that derive revenue from patent extortion, is writing for IAM even if his views are significantly biased by his aggressive paymasters (just like IAM's)



  16. The EPO Protest Tomorrow Isn't Just About Judge Corcoran But About the EPO as a Whole

    PO staff is about to protest against the employer, pointing out that "Battistelli is still showing a total and utter lack of respect not only for his staff and their rights but also for the Administrative Council and for the Tribunal"



  17. Claim: Judge Corcoran to Be Put Under Benoît Battistelli's Control in DG1

    Benoît Battistelli, who openly disregards and refuses to obey judges (while intervening in trials and delivering 'royal decrees' whenever it suits him), may soon gain direct control over the judge he hates most



  18. The European Patent Organisation Refrains (For Nearly a Week) From Speaking About Battistelli's Abuses as Judged by ILO Tribunal

    The EPO's silence on the matter of Patrick Corcoran is deafening; to make matters worse, the EPO continues to pollute media and academia with money of stakeholders, with the sole intention of lobbying and misleading news coverage (clearly a disservice to these stakeholders)



  19. Carl Josefsson Lets Judge Patrick Corcoran Come Back to Work at the EPO

    After initial reluctance to obey/respect the rulings from the ILO (security staff declining access) there is official permission for Patrick Corcoran to enter and resume work (following 3 years of injustice against him)



  20. Bristows is Being Hammered With Negative Comments For Its Unitary Patent (UPC) Lies

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is practically dead in the UK and Ireland; Bristows, nevertheless, continues with its desperate spin



  21. Links 11/12/2017: Linux 4.15 RC3, Debian 8.10 and Debian 9.3

    Links for the day



  22. Judge Corcoran Turns to His Government for Help and EPO 'House Ban' is Finally Lifted

    Sources that are very reliable say that Patrick Corcoran is coming back to work, however it's now clear when and how long for



  23. Raw: Battistelli's Control/Domination Over the Boards of Appeal

    An old EPO document internally voicing concerns about the lack of independence at the Boards of Appeal



  24. Raw: Conflicts of Interest of EPO Vice-President

    An old EPO concern regarding structural collisions and mixed loyalties



  25. Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls Are Increasingly Active and Microsoft is Selling 'Protection' (Azure Subscriptions)

    There are several indications that Microsoft-connected shells, which produce no products and are threatening a large number of companies, are inadvertently if not intentionally helping Microsoft sell "indemnification" ("Azure IP Advantage," which echoes the Microsoft/Novell strategy for collecting what they called "patent royalties" one decade ago)



  26. Yes, RPost is Definitely a Patent Troll and Its Software Patents Are at Risk Thanks to Alice

    The latest whitewashing (or reputation-laundering) pieces from Watchtroll, which tries to justify patent-trolling activities with software patents, typically in the Eastern District of Texas



  27. The Latest Scams in the Patent World

    Examples of 'dirty laundry' of the patent microcosm, which it understandably does not like covering (as it harms confidence in their services/advice)



  28. Patents Are Becoming a Welfare System for the Rich and Powerful

    A culture of litigation and more recently the patenting of broad industry standards may mean that multi-billion dollar corporations are cashing in without lifting a finger



  29. Unlike the Mobile Domain, When it Comes to Cars Patent Lawsuits Remain Rare

    An optimistic note regarding the relatively low-temperature legal landscape surrounding advanced automobiles, even though patents are being amassed on software in that domain



  30. The Federal Circuit Rules (Again) in Favour of Section 101/Alice, Koch-Funded CPIP Tries to Overturn Alice at the Supreme Court

    The US Supreme Court's decision on Alice continues to have a profoundly positive impact (except for trolls) and Koch-funded academics try hard to compel the US Supreme Court to reverse/override Alice (so far to no avail)


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