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Wednesday, 19 November 2014 05:21

SUSE's new owner does not see much change ahead Featured


The new owner of SUSE Linux does not intend to move the company from Nuremberg or change its method of operation in any substantial way, the chief executive told iTWire on Tuesday.

Micro Focus executive chairman and chief executive Kevin Loosemore (seen below) said that all the businesses that were part of the Attachmate Group, which Micro Focus acquired earlier this year, would continue to operate from their respective locations. The deal has been ratified and is expected to be sealed on Thursday, 20 November.

"SUSE will stay in Nuremberg, NetIQ in Houston, and Novell in Utah," Loosemore said during a conversation on the sidelines of SUSECon 2014, the third annual conference of the German Linux company, being held in Orlando, Florida, this week.

Micro Focus is a mainframe group and there has thus been a perception that it is trying to pull itself up into the current era by the acquisition of SUSE, so that all its legacy applications can be moved to Linux.

But Loosemore denied that this was the motivator behind the acquisition. While the company's core business was off mainframe COBOL, it had returned returns of 35% per annum for the last nine years, and had been in the top 5% on the London Stock Exchange over a 10-year period, he said.

loosemore big

The Attachmate Group is the 10th IT asset that Micro Focus has acquired. Loosemore said the company had a long-term focus and did not look to dumping existing products, but rather to adapt existing applications to what was current.

When iTWire spoke to the then Attachmate president and chief executive Jeff Hawn in June last year, he said that Novell's decline had been arrested. Loosemore said all the assets in Attachmate were now profitable, to varying degrees, with SUSE being the least profitable.

Loosemore did not see a problem with any kind of culture clash in the new Micro Focus — British, American and German cultures will be present in varying degrees — as the parent company was already used to being a cross-cultural entity, being an international one, with most business coming from North America and the second biggest share coming from Germany.

Asked what the impact of analysts would be on the new entity, Loosemore said it depended on the analysts' attitude. Novell, before being acquired by Attachmate in 2010, was a public company and often took a hammering at the hands of analysts; when Attachmate bought Novell, took it private and moved SUSE back to Nuremberg as an independent business unit, the fortunes of the Linux company improved markedly.

"If they (analysts) don't like us, then it is their business," said Loosemore, pointing to one group, Jefferies, that had consistently advised against the purchase of Micro Focus shares for the last nine years. This was the very period during which the company had consistently returned good results, he added.

Disclosure: The writer is attending SUSECon in Orlando, Florida, as a guest of SUSE.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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