In a survey of 201 IT managers in companies with more than 500 employees, 95% said that they approved of Microsoft's partnership with Novell. Even more tellingly, 97% said they wanted to see a greater focus on interoperability between different platforms.
That represents something of a bitter pill for Microsoft to swallow, as its main marketing strategy for many years has been "Windows everywhere", the notion that running exclusively Windows-based operating systems will lead to lower software and management costs.
Despite hammering that theme for a decade, however, enterprises have stubbornly remained heterogeneous in their consumption of operating systems, as well as noticing that interoperability between different flavours of Windows is not always that straightforward either.
There was some good news for Microsoft in the survey though. 71% of respondents said that they were more likely to deploy Linux if it came with intellectual property rights guaranteed, rather than risking patent law suits from less commercial versions of the open source OS.
Microsoft and Novell announced their plans to allow interoperability between SUSE and Windows in November, a move which led to much excited commentary online. Two-thirds of the respondents to the survey, carried out by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, said they were aware of the new partnership.
The survey also demonstrated that proprietary Unix remains a popular choice in the larger enterprise. After Windows, the most commonly deployed OS was Solaris (used by 36%) and AIX (used by 35%).