Microsoft needs a viable Novell, and Novell's Linux business was on the verge of becoming viable when Singer's Elliott Associates swooped in with an offer to break up the company, seize its cash, split off the old NetWare business, and auction off Suse Linux.
I doubt Microsoft wants to actually buy that business. Owning a Linux would be a real complication. Suddenly all those patent cross-licenses that claim Microsoft has patent rights to the software take on a different odor, and Microsoft is forced to go down the SCO road to prove its claims.
Microsoft has been doing well against Linux through bluff. What the Elliott move does is threaten to make Microsoft show its hand.
Even the due diligence process could threaten Microsoft. Singer is going to get a look inside that 2006 agreement.
It's a prime company asset and, even though it's protected by a non-disclosure agreement, things get out. Stuff leaks. Knowing exactly what Microsoft claims to own in legal documents would tell open source advocates what must be changed to eliminate the threat.
In the Wall Street ocean Novell has become a minnow and Microsoft remains a whale. (Singer's a shark, and isn't it gratifying this big GOP contributor now thinks there are greater opportunities here than the Congo.)
Feel free to advise Microsoft in the comments. For now I'll leave you with Gecko's greatest hit, from the IMDB database:
The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.