Bonum Certa Men Certa

An Alternate Theory on Microvell

In the interest of "equal time" (I think we are as fair and balanced as a site called Boycott Novell can be), I will link to Tom Yager's "Payback Time for Novell" over on InfoWorld.

In this posting, Yager posits that Novell is the party of advantage, and Microvell is an up-front settlement from Microsoft for their involvement in SCO.

Novell has exhibited the patience and cunning of a trap door spider. It waited for SCO to taunt from too short a distance. Then Novell would spring, feed a little (saving plenty for later), inject some stupidity serum, and let SCO stride off still cocksure enough to make another run at the nest. That cycle is bleeding SCO, which was the last to notice its own terminal anemia.

When it became clear that SCO wouldn’t prevail, Microsoft expected only to face close partner IBM. Microsoft did not brace for Novell, an adversary with a decades-long score to settle with Redmond. Through discovery, Microsoft’s correspondence with SCO is, or soon will be in, Novell’s hands, and it’s a safe bet that it will contain more than demand for a license fee and a copy of a certified check. .

When I consider Novell to be the party of advantage in the Microsoft partnership deal, the tone of the agreement changes. Microsoft is handing 70,000 copies of a primary competitor’s operating system to existing Windows customers, introducing Windows-only shops to the advantages of the heterogeneous enterprise. Microsoft will be bringing Novell along on sales calls, which is somewhat like a punished teenager agreeing to bring her dad with her on future dates. The word “indemnity” that Microsoft wielded so freely has turned on it, with Novell demanding indemnity against future Microsoft IP action. A final touch of irony is Microsoft’s issuance of a press release on a deal that would ordinarily be made on the QT. That harkens back to Microsoft’s self-congratulatory capitulation to SCO, no?

There are flaws in the theory, as Yager admits, such as the fact that Microsoft is advertising similar deals to all interested parties, and Novell themselves receive no indemnification from future Microsoft IP action as Yager states, their customers do - remember? The companies reserved their right to sue each other into the ground, its how they got around the GPL.

Of course, it's easy to get confused over the nature of the agreement, since every statement either company has made since the deal has sounded like a patent cross-license agreement, but really its not. Really. You believe them, right? Perhaps they could commission a survey...

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