Microsoft issued a formal statement today that confirms its deal with Novell but sheds no light on what exactly it purchased.
After contacting the Redmond, Wash. company, this blogger got this response to questions about which IP assets Microsoft will acquire as part of the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.
"We are pleased to be a part of the acquisition of certain intellectual property assets of Novell. Microsoft looks forward to continuing our collaboration with Novell into the future, to bring mixed source IT solutions to customers," said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing, Microsoft Corporation.
Tell me something I don't know.
When I asked a public relations exec to comment on what exactly these certain IP assets are, she declined to answer.
"Microsoft is not providing any additional information beyond the statement," she said.
There are not enough details to push the panic button, and it seems clear that the SUSE Linux business is going to Attachmate -- not Microsoft.
Yet there are three aspects of this deal that raise a red flag for me.
First, Novell beat SCO in court on several IP issues related to Linux. No one in the open source community wants that portfolio in Microsoft's hands.
Second, Novell declined to state outright that it sold certain IP assets to Microsoft. Focused on the $2.2 B deal with Attachmate and secondarily on the $450 million deal with "CPTN Holdings LLC, "a consortium of technology companies organized by Microsoft Corporation," for $450 million in cash, which cash payment is reflected in the merger consideration to be paid by Attachmate Corporation."
Huh? is there a CPA in the house?
Finally, the timing of the announcement is a bit suspect. Three days before Thanksgiving? Will anyone remember this next week?