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.

Not Even Oprah Winfrey’s Fake Endorsements Can Save Microsoft’s Vista Phony 7

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, Windows at 6:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I do hope that the suit can help demonstrate that Microsoft’s claims of succeeding through innovation are a complete fraud. Their only innovation has been in inventing predatory business practices. Other than that, they have been perhaps the greatest borrowers in the history of the software industry.”

Sybase Chairman Mitchell Kertzman

Oprah

Summary: Time has nearly run out for Vista Phony 7 [sic] and Steve Ballmer’s chair is said to be in jeopardy

Red Hat’s Harish Pillay writes that Microsoft’s “phone OS is so bad, that they’ll give you two for the price of one just to make the numbers.” He refers to articles like this one, which help show that Vista Phony 7 [sic] quickly follows the “KIN” trajectory [1, 2] due to inability to sell. [via the good Slashdot summary with many links under the headline “Windows Phone 7 Sales Continue To Struggle”]

“Even with the pre-Christmas buying rush, Microsoft is already desperately offering a new buy one get one free offer similar to the ones they gave for the KIN. According to the article, ‘Windows Phone 7 devices can’t even manage two per cent of the fortnight’s sales.’ These aren’t official Microsoft figures; they come from online shopping sites. But since Microsoft official sales figures seem subject to manipulation, this is perhaps one of the better guesses we will get at the success of Windows Phone 7 until well into next year. This also strongly backs up other reports of deeply disappointing phone sales. Even Microsoft supporters have been wondering for a while whether it’s time for Ballmer to go. If the sales reports are true, then he may be pushed before he jumps.”

Microsoft resorts to using Oprah again, obviously as an advertiser (Oprah Winfrey promotes Microsoft products in exchange for payments [1, 2], not to mention her recent promotion of Gates Foundation agenda which include taking over schools [1, 2]). As Goblin (Tim) puts it in his Web site last night:

We looked at this during episode 13 of the TechBytes show which can be found here, but it does beg the question: Is Oprah soon to promote WP7? I would think that it certainly needs all the help it can get (Bing certainly does) and if she gives it away to her audience members (like she did the 360) then Microsoft can claim some more sales of the “new” phone.

Talking of sales, why is Microsoft being so tight lipped about the figures? If, as some Microsoft advocates suggest it’s a raging success, why are we not seeing Microsoft proudly claiming this? Why is AT&T trying to offer 2 for the price of 1 on the WP7 and why is it that there seems (in my experience) to be very little excitement anywhere about it?

2 for 1, Oprah, I wonder what other “incentives” can be thought up to try to get people interested in Microsoft tech? This union between Oprah and Microsoft hasn’t been received well by some and prior to the “Xbox Oprah show”…

The Register says that even shortly after a PR blitz from Microsoft (costing around half a billion dollars in just marketing expenses) the Linux-based Android outsells Vista Phony 7 [sic] more than 15 times over.

Figures from comparison service Mobiles Please show Windows Phone 7 being outsold by Android more than 15 times over and by Symbian three times.

That pretty much sums it up. As the Slashdot summary put it, Ballmer’s chair is under threat and it’s not under threat from Ballmer.

“But rather than a search engine or even a “decision engine”, Bing also appears to be a spin engine, in that it provides partisan answers to controversial topics, such as Steve Ballmer’s propensity to throw chairs to blow off stress.”

Christian Einfeldt

Nichi Vendola Ayuda a Microsoft a Conquistar más de Italia (Actualizado)

Posted in Europe, Microsoft at 4:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nichi Vendola
Por el Foto Giovanni

(ODF | PDF | English/original)

Resumen: Uno de los causantes de la venta del futuro de Italia a Microsoft se desenmascaró, este problema no es sólo italiano.

“STOP” en la zona-m.net es un interesante blog que informa de Italia, en particular sobre temas relacionados con OpenOffice.org (y ahora LibreOffice). Hace unos días lo hizo alguna información excelente sobre Nichi Vendola[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nichi_Vendola] y Microsoft [1[http://techrights.org/2010/11/27/university-of-warwick-hpc/], 2[http://techrights.org/2010/11/25/kde-4-6-previews-imminent/]] y es probablemente vale la pena por el que se de manera aislada siguiente:

* Lider de Izquierda italiana firma contrato-como el acuerdo de Berlusconi con Microsoft[http://stop.zona-m.net/2010/11/italian-left-leader-signs-berlusconi-like-deal-with-microsoft/]

“Nichi Vendola es presidente tanto de la región sur-este de Puglia italiana y de la izquierda italiana partido Sinistra Ecología Libertà (SEL o de “izquierda, la ecología de la libertad” en Español).

El software libre es software que puede ahorrar mucho dinero público. Incluso a las madres les gusta el software libre como Linux, en parte porque se puede utilizar sin problemas incluso por algunos niños discapacitados. Además, el Software Libre es tan buena idea de que a representantes del Parlamento Europeo de todos los colores que les guste!.

En su propia página web, SEL (Partido de “izquierda de la ecología y libertad”) dice “creemos que para que un partido moderno hablando del copyleft, software libre y la neutralidad de la red es tan necesaria como hablar de puestos de trabajo, el medio ambiente, la economía y los derechos civiles”. Entre los más de 100 candidatos políticos que apoyan el software libre en las últimas elecciones regionales en Italia hubo varios representantes de SEL. La sección de Florencia de SEL incluso presentó una moción para promover el Software Libre en] http://www.sinistraeliberta.eu/articoli/sel-per-il-software-libero-al-comune-di-firenze Florencia en enero de 2010.”

* Nichi Vendola se explica (pero no es así?) Su contrato tipo Berlusconi-, con Microsoft[http://stop.zona-m.net/2010/11/nichi-vendola-explains-but-does-he-his-berlusconi-like-deal-with-microsoft/]

“El día después de firmar un acuerdo de Berlusconi-, como con Microsoft, Nichi Vendola, presidente de la Región Puglia, publicó una explicación en la página web de su partido. Estos son mis comentarios a las partes principales de ese artículo:

Vendola: “¿Quién es el enemigo de Puglia y en Italia? ¿Es Microsoft, el gigante del software o cualquier otro? ”

Stop: El primer enemigo es la falta de competencia e interés en las TIC por parte de administradores públicos. ¿Es este el caso de Vendola? Tal vez no, pero, francamente, esta explicación no es suficiente para estar seguro, aunque hay algunas partes “buenas” en él.”

* Región italiana pide ayuda para evitar el software de bloqueo de Microsoft[http://stop.zona-m.net/2010/11/italian-region-asks-for-help-to-avoid-software-lock-in-to-microsoft/]

“Hoy, después de la sorpresa inicial causada por saber que el líder de Izquierda y el presidente de la región italiana de Puglia, Nichi Vendola, acaba de firmar un acuerdo como Berlusconi-, con Microsoft ofreciendo una explicación que, por desgracia, en realidad no explica mucho, recién empezamos a saber algo sobre el contenido del acuerdo (porque el problema más grande, en todo este asunto, mucho más que la presencia de Microsoft, es la falta de transparencia).

La Región de Puglia, publicó un comunicado de prensa titulado, más o menos, “Protocolo de entendimiento entre la Región de Puglia y Microsoft”. Vendola dice: (esto es para) la “neutralidad tecnológica” (un resumen del comunicado de prensa también fue publicado por el diario italiano Corriere del Mezzogiorno”.

Microsoft se apoya claramente y desvergonzadamente en gente corruptible[http://techrights.org/2009/08/25/microsoft-anti-linux-presentation/] que prefieren servir a Microsoft y no servir al público. Vale la pena nombrar a estas personas a ejercer presión sobre ellos. Nichi Vendola es una de esas personas y como este nuevo artículo bien lo dice[http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/public-sector/2010/11/eu-keeps-schtum-on-microsoft-p.html], el problema afecta a algo más que Italia (el autor anteriormente mostró cómo se hace en el Reino Unido con el “Todo lo que Microsoft” CIO, Richard Acero [1[http://techrights.org/2008/04/18/microsoft-uk-city-council/], 2[http://techrights.org/2008/04/21/richard-steele-grilling/], 3[http://techrights.org/2008/04/23/need-transparency-in-iso-uk-mou-olpc/], 4[http://techrights.org/2008/05/09/uk-cio-taxable-gnu-linux/], 5[http://techrights.org/2008/05/14/self-fulfilling-uk-economy/], 6[http://techrights.org/2009/02/28/richard-steel-vs-freedom-policy/]]):

“La razón números de Microsoft de la UE no tienen sentido es que la CE ha pasado la mitad de la cantidad total que se había asignado en virtud de su contrato de € 49m para el software de escritorio.

Cuando la firma del contrato en 2008, la CE estima que el costo por usuario por año sería de € 125, que estaban muy por debajo del valor total del contrato. Suena como un reparto estupendo cuando dicen que es un tercio más barato de lo que es.

Es mejor si suena como un reparto estupendo y si la CE quiere justificar millones el gasto en software de Microsoft al mismo tiempo la lucha contra el gigante del software en los tribunales por sus abusos de monopolio.”

Descuento en el software que quita la libertad de uno puede ser peor que ningún descuento en absoluto, porque su finalidad es garantizar el lock-in a toda costa.

Otro blogger puso el otro día (en relación con Kinect)[http://dasublogbyprashanth.blogspot.com/2010/11/adafruit-bears-fruit-for-microsoft.html]:

“Parece que Microsoft está admitiendo que tiene que lucir como un matón, aunque en realidad no lo es, a veces, ¿por qué?”

Bueno, es sólo Microsoft, un fanático del control. Italia fue lo suficientemente inteligente como para derribar el “patentes de la UE” y para pasar al software libre más rápido que algunos países vecinos. Esperemos que personajes de la talla de Nichi Vendola se vean como lo que son – un obstáculo a la autonomía italiana y la libertad. Más noticias sobre Italia se adjuntan a continuación.

Puestos relacionados con:

* Activistas batallan el fascismo de Microsoft en Italia[http://techrights.org/2008/11/25/microsoft-fascistic-tenders/]
* Los votantes de OOXML en ‘alquiler’ en Italia (Actualizado)[http://techrights.org/2007/07/18/italy-vote-ooxml/]
* Encuesta en Italia: el uso OpenOffice.org en el 50% de las empresas, GNU / Linux en un 63%[http://techrights.org/2009/10/30/free-software-italian-survey/]
* Microsoft lanza el Grupo Gartner a Sabotear la migración a GNU/Linux en Europa[http://techrights.org/2009/05/18/gartner-group-vs-eu-linux/]

Actualización: Glyn Moody escribió una refutación al pobre control de daños por parte de Vendola[http://opendotdotdot.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-to-say-ooh-look-squirrel-in-italian.html]:

“¿De qué diablos está hablando? Después de haber tomado una decisión injustificada a firmar un acuerdo con Microsoft (uno de cuyos términos no han sido aún revelado, en lo que puedo decir), que trata de evitar simplemente la cuestión central “¿Por qué?” Al decir en cierto modo, Tony Blair, que es hora de seguir adelante, y que no se trata de competidores, sino de los cables de fibra óptica, el IPAD así como el precio de las aplicaciones y neutralidad de la red. A continuación, el sujeto cambia una vez más de tema para traer el tema de la brecha digital en Italia.

Ahora, el cierre de la brecha digital es, sin duda una empresa de enorme importancia, pero si algo puede hacer que es un *software libre*, que puede ser distribuido a cada uno en Puglia – a todas las escuelas, y para cada negocio. las ofertas de Microsoft son precisamente lo último que cerraría esa brecha digital.

De hecho, la brecha está ahí, porque en gran medida de Microsoft. En virtud de su dominio monopolístico en el mercado de escritorio ha sido capaz de imponer precios artificialmente elevados en un sector cuyos costos marginales de producción son iguales a cero. Esto implica que ese precio natural de software es también cero – que es exactamente el caso del software libre. Cualquier cosa superior a cero hace más profunda la brecha digital – lo que significa que los precios inflados de Microsoft han ayudado a excavar no tanto una brecha digital como una abismo digital.

Tan extraña señor Vendola la “explicación” de su movimiento – que, por supuesto, es una no-explicación, y el equivalente italiano de decir: “oh, mira, una ardilla” – es, de hecho, una razón excelente por qué debería ser en realidad el apoyo a de código abierto, al igual que su partido profesa a hacer en su sitio web.

[...]

El mensaje es claro: activistas italianos de software libre deben (a)-seguir apoyando la presión hasta que se cancele este acuerdo con Microsoft, y (b)-scoiattolo no guardare lo.”


Eduardo Landaveri adds (in English):

We have another one on the European Hall of Shame: Nichi Vendola.
By the way, there’s a new popular spanish song in La Puglia:

Vote for me … I Nichi sold_la Puglia
vote for my party my help me fill my pockets!

Nichi sold the Puglia region … to Microsoft,
Nichi How much did they pay you?
As a good ex-”communist” sure enough
to ensure you and all your own a future ..
while you’re still “representing” the Puglia
you can continue to deceive the people just to say:
.. I did it! … I made the “best for the people”

Nichi sold la Puglia today, tomorrow the whole of Italy,
Berluschoni is a baby at my side …

Nichi sold the Puglia today, vote for me
my people vote for me. I better represent you
vote for my now I sold the Puglia …
I will sell the whole Italy tomorrow ….

Vote for me Nichi Vendola… Vendola Italy
vote for my party my help me fill my pockets!

Nichi sold the Puglia today, tomorrow the whole Italy,
Berluschoni is a baby at my side …

Nichi sold the Puglia today, tomorrow the whole of Italy,
Berluschoni is a baby at my side …

Nichi sold the Puglia today, vote for me
my people vote for me. I better represent you
vote for my now I sold the Puglia …
Vendola Italy tomorrow ….

Or in Spanish:

Voten por mi Nichi Vendola…vendió la Puglia
voten por mi partido mio ayudenme a llenar mis bolsillos!

Nichi Vendola, …vendió la Puglia region to Microsoft,
¿Cúanto te pagaron Nichi?
Como buen ex-”comunista” seguro que lo suficiente
asegurar a ti y a los tuyos su futuro..
mientras tanto ti sigues “representando” la Puglia,
tu puedes seguir engañando al pueblo solo con decir:
..soy de izquierda,… hize lo “mejor por el pueblo”

Nichi Vendola, hoy vendió la Puglia, mañana toda Italia,
Berluschoni es un bebe a lado mio…

Nichi Vendola, hoy vendió la Puglia, voten por mi,
voten por mi pueblo mio. Yo los represento mejor
voten por my hoy vendió la Puglia…
Mañana Vendola Italia….

Voten por mi Nichi Vendola…Vendola Italia
voten por mi partido mio ayudenme a llenar mis bolsillos!

Nichi Vendola, hoy vendió la Puglia, mañana toda Italia,
Berluschoni es un bebe a lado mio…

Nichi Vendola, hoy vendió la Puglia, mañana toda Italia,
Berluschoni es un bebe a lado mio…

Nichi Vendola, hoy vendió la Puglia, voten por mi,
voten por mi pueblo mio. Yo los represento mejor
voten por my hoy vendi la Puglia…
Mañana Vendola Italia….

Thanks to Eduardo for his translations. He says the song comes from an “anonymous author” — a popular Spanish song in La Puglia.

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