Microsoft’s sudden takeover is at the same time a surprise and not a surprise.
On the one hand, there had not been any recent comment or activity that indicated Novell was a target for Microsoft.
Yet, on the other hand, the two companies had formed an alliance back in 2006 to forge interoperability between Novell’s SUSE Linux and Microsoft Windows. This alliance has continued without wavering and Microsoft published a video at the end of last year highlighting some of the achievements during the “two years of interoperability progress.”
This alliance was viewed with suspicion at the time, particularly given the strategic importance of Novell’s ownership of the UNIX brand and copyright.
Ironically, it is now the Redmond giant who is the UNIX owner, and this has Linux vendors concerned.
Previously, SCO had engaged in a lengthy court case where they argued Linux infringed about SCO’s intellectual property (as expressed in earlier releases of UNIX operating systems.)
SCO were unsuccessful and Novell, the owners of the UNIX copyright by that time, stated that they had no intentions of pursuing Linux or repeating SCO’s activities.
Earlier this year SCO’s CEO Darl McBride announced his plans to sell off SCO assets to continue the fight. This was also a surprise announcement with many commentators believing the fight had gone out of SCO and that, in fact, they were no longer in operation.
It was rumoured among conspiracy theorists, but never proven, that Microsoft were bankrolling McBride’s activities.
Consequently, spokespeople from both Red Hat Linux and Canonical – the makers of popular distro Ubuntu – have already commented to the media that they are expecting to receive lawsuits in the very near future and that the death knell is sounding for their products.
Microsoft’s Vice President of Stealth Acquisitions, Mr Russell Sprout, is issuing a press conference by midday today, April 1st. No doubt there will be many questions.
Sprout has already stated Novell’s recently released SUSE Linux 11 will be relaunched as Microsoft Linux Vista by the middle of this month.