Novell was bought by a private software company Attachmate Corporation yesterday.
There are several plus points for Microsoft.
First, the sale has removed the spectre of VMWare ever being in control of Novell. This would have been a nightmare scenario for Microsoft's Windows Server business given that VMWare is the virtual computing company.
Second, Microsoft's acquisition of 882 patents for a bargain basement price of $US450 million will enable it to continue with its Novell agreement.
Thirdly, it indicates to all and sundry that Microsoft knows that it cannot compete effectively in markets where big competitors - Google and Apple - have established beachheads.
Microsoft has never been an innovative company but was loath to accept this in public; by purchasing Novell's patents en bloc, it has now made a public confession that it is looking to make money from licensing deals, not new products.