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Thursday, 28 July 2011 11:43

Microsoft renews Novell deal

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Microsoft has announced that its patent-licensing deal with Novell, which expires in November this year, will be renewed for a further four years.

The renewal has been signed with SUSE which is now a separate entity managing Novell's Linux interests after Attachmate purchased Novell and took it private.

At the time the original deal was signed, in November 2006, Novell was a single entity with its entire Linux business being managed within.

The new deal, which runs until January 1, 2016, will see Microsoft invest $US100 million in SUSE Linux Enterprise certificates for customers receiving Linux support from SUSE.

The extension of the deal does not come as a surprise given that Microsoft has recently shown more than a passing interest in improving the experience of customers using Windows systems to run Linux on its Hyper-V emulation layer.

Microsoft personnel recently submitted changes to patches for making Hyper-V work better with the Linux kernel; the original patches did not meet the strict quality standards of the kernel maintainers and hence had been left out of the kernel.

The renewal of the deal will not occasion even half the hysteria that the original deal did; Microsoft, at that time, was considered an active competitor on the world stage. That is no longer the case, with the Vista debacle having sucked most of the oxygen out of the company's lungs.

And SUSE has not proved to be the force that Microsoft thought it would be - Red Hat is still the enterprise Linux leader by a huge margin, and its growth shows no sign of abating.

If Microsoft had changed leadership and brought in someone with technical nous to follow in the steps of Bill Gates, then things may well have been different. But Steve Ballmer does not inspire confidence and the company has slowly but surely lost is foothold in nearly every computing market niche.

A sad truth is now being learnt in Redmond: after a while, all the PR buzzwords in the industry cannot help an aging behemoth to change direction when there are crosswinds coming in from all directions.


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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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