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The Big Australian Press: “Microsoft Has Ruled Out Buying a Linux Company”

[Correction: the old title mistakenly stated 'The Big Australian Press: “Microsoft Has Ruled Not Out Buying a Linux Company”''. This is an unfortunate error that led to a wrong assumption.]

Gates on SUSE



Summary: Increasing proximity between Microsoft and Novell across publications this week

LAST WEEK, the smaller Australian press suggested that Microsoft might buy Novell. This week, news.com.au cites a top Microsoft executive and here is the summary in bold:

MICROSOFT plans to spend its way out of the recession by developing new products and services but has ruled out buying a Linux company or increasing its stake in Facebook, a senior executive said.

[...]

For now, it doesn't make sense for Microsoft to acquire a firm that deals in open source-based software such as Linux.

But Microsoft had great partnerships with companies such as Novell through interoperability agreements, he said.


A few months ago, Microsoft admitted that Novell was more or less its GPL labourer. Novell is applying changes to GNU/Linux and Free software so as to advance Microsoft's goals. In return, Novell receives generous payments from Microsoft. It is therefore quite unnerving to find the following in yesterday's news:

Oracle-Sun deal renews calls for OpenOffice.org's independence



[...]

Michael Meeks, a developer at Novell Inc. who is overseeing Novell's custom branch of the OpenOffice.org software, is more blunt. "We need to fix the deeply conservative, entrenched group think around development process in the project," he said. "Currently, we have a total mess in this regard."


Novell has already begun seizing control of the project [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], to which it inserted components that strengthen Microsoft's position in the market.

This involvement from Novell is something to watch out for. Novell wants to do to OpenOffice.org what Monty wants to do to MySQL, but Novell -- unlike Monty -- is serving the equivalent of Oracle, which competes against Free software.

Let's not kid ourselves. Microsoft is aggressively boosting Novell and it already gets things in return. Looking at the news, there is some more new evidence this week.

Last week, Sys-Con (Microsoft's anti-Linux PR or planters), the Redmond/Microsoft press, and IDG [1, 2, 3] all promoted Novell and Microsoft. Now we find a new addition to a Microsoft-bent site bearing the headline/title "Advantages of Building Virtual Appliances on SUSE€® Linux Enterprise Server." In the main branch of the same Redmond publisher we find another article that compares Novell to Microsoft (as well as promotes Novell).

The company is also trying to tailor its program to different categories of partners, and if some of what Novell is doing sounds similar to Microsoft's current and forthcoming partner efforts, that's no accident-the recently appointed Hale says he's taken lessons from Microsoft into his new gig.


More of the same in Sys-Con, which has just published:



This vicinity between Novell and Microsoft makes it hard not to become suspicious. Are any more announcements imminent?

Microvell



"[The partnership with Microsoft is] going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on."

--Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

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