Novell reveals Microsoft's open source strategy

While it's amusing to read that "Novell is gunning for a chunk of the office market share from Microsoft" that's not really the case. Through its November deal with Microsoft, Novell became part of the Microsoft "keiretsu."

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Novell today announced Open Workgroup, a basic Linux set-up for small-to-medium businesses.

In doing this Novell also revealed Microsoft's open source strategy.

It's a defensive game. Microsoft has channels covering all areas of the market. Now, when those channels need an open source solution, there's something they can point to.

While it's amusing to read "Novell  is gunning for a chunk of office market share from Microsoft" that's not really the case. Through its November deal with Microsoft, Novell became part of the Microsoft "keiretsu." 

It's a Japanese word, and it means a collection of companies with interlocking business relationships. The Microsoft keiretsu is more informal than Japan's Mitsubishi, or Korean chaebol such as LG. Microsoft does not own Novell, nor does it own Linspire.  

But in signing deals with Microsoft, acknowledging its (bogus) patent claims, these companies (and others) enter into Microsoft's orbit. They choose sides. They agree, through their Microsoft contract, that in the case of patents 2+2=5.

The same thing happens to the many, many firms which tie themselves to IBM, or to any other large vendor. (Absent the falsehood.) There's nothing illegal going on here, nothing unethical, not even anything bad per-se.

But as I've said here many times, this is now a political battle. I hope the folks at the Linux Foundation's Collaboration Summit, meeting this weekend at Google's headquarters, understand this.  

The question then becomes, what are they going to do about it? Any ideas?

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