Microsoft refuses to specify what it bought from Novell

Microsoft refuses to specify what it bought from Novell

Summary: 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.

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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?

Topics: Open Source, Microsoft, Software

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19 comments
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  • Oh please, give it a rest

    Companies like Google and whatnot do this everyday, yet we never hear boo about it. MS does it, and it's the end of the world.<br>You two are a bit way too paranoid, to be totally honest.
    John Zern
    • RE: Microsoft refuses to specify what it bought from Novell

      @John Zern I think the whole industry is concerned given the background.
      DanaBlankenhorn
      • Microsoft &quot;refuses&quot;...

        The sound is so sinester: [i]"refuses"[/i]. How about "Microsoft declined a request to elerberate what patents it had purchase".

        You never hear "Apple refuses to tell what project they are working on", instead they "decline to comment".

        Maybe the industry should be concearned, maybe it's nothing at all, but then given the background of many open source related things, maybe there are a lot of other things the industry should be concearned about?

        But they spend so much time wondering MS's next move, alot of other players are skirting around unoticed, untill it's too late.
        They can't do anything about Linux in terms of any patents that Novell had already signed away to the open source community, so what the big deal?
        John Zern
      • Stop bringing Apple into this

        @John Zern, when Apple has 90% of the desktop market instead of the 9% it currently shares, then we'll worry about it.<br><br>M$ has had a history of being <b>devious</b> and <b>slimy</b> in the past, so people have right to question their motives.</b>
        ahh so
      • Potential

        There is some great potential here. Maybe MS will learn how to build an Operating System that is less leaky than a sieve. Maybe they might even learn how to build something secure so viruses cease to exist (or at least a LOT rarer). Maybe the antivirus companies are quaking in their comfortably expensive shoes. Maybe pigs might fly ;)
        Regards from Tom :)
        Tom6
    • What paranoid

      @John Zern
      How naive can you really be , Its as nothing to do with google nothing , Its just that MS with its well rather dark record of buying and killing the competition.

      Also with want happen lately with Oracle And SUN ( im not talking about java ) but Open solaris and other project .... Its all too normal to check what will happen with novell. after all we are talking about MS
      Quebec-french
      • RE: Microsoft refuses to specify what it bought from Novell

        @Quebec-french LOL! Wake the hell up. Do you honestly think Apple and Google are these prim and proper companies that always play fair and follow the rules? Here's a fact. All giant corporations break the law, kill competition, and generally be slimy in every way possible.
        JoeHTH
  • My money is on Mono

    I believe that MS will strike against a weakened Java ecosystem, buy Mono and license it as open source (e.g. MSPL) with patent grants. Silverlight brought to Linux as well

    This is really the first time such a move would make sense. Java is weakened by Oracles predatory behavior, many are searching for "what's next" and Mono has already made that blip on the radar. Mono is not encumbered like Java with a half-sincere license. C# and CLR is ECMA standard protected by patent grant and community promise. There are still many doubters, most of them could be silenced by completely opening Mono up.
    honeymonster
    • RE: Microsoft refuses to specify what it bought from Novell

      @honeymonster - Well thought out.

      Why is it that there are way too few people with cool heads that actually try to apply logic and reasonable ideas? Why is it that the masses (lead by certain bloggers) instead use only emotion and fear to escalate and provoke the ABM folks?

      Honestly, I don't get it.
      PollyProteus
      • RE: Microsoft refuses to specify what it bought from Novell

        [i]Why is it that there are way too few people with cool heads that actually try to apply logic and reasonable ideas? Why is it that the masses (lead by certain bloggers) instead use only emotion and fear to escalate and provoke the ABM folks?[/i]

        Because the bottom line is [b]money[/b] and M$ has had a history of not being trusted. They will resort to anything they can get away with, thanks to their monopoly status.

        You are a naive tool if you believe otherwise.
        ahh so
      • RE: Microsoft refuses to specify what it bought from Novell

        @PollyProteus err, it's absurd to conceive that Microsoft would enable full .NET (ie, mono) on Linux. I mean, why? There's no profit. So, no, it's not well thought out.

        And, no, Mono doesn't have a clear license. Novell, supposedly, was licensed to distribute, but for others the case wasn't so clear.
        THUFIR.HAWAT
  • Timing

    In a previous life I worked for a very large US-based service provider that liked to publish rate increases the day after Thanksgiving or just before Christmas. Worked like a charm.

    No-one was reading the back pages in the papers and subscriber reaction was minimal, as intended.

    But this is the New World and many are tracking industry news 24 X 7, perhaps putting down the iPhones (briefly) whilst passing the gravy on Thursday.

    I don't think that MS is really trying to downplay this much. If so, they'd also wait until Friday. Noon - because at 4:00 AM many are checking news online whilst trying to stay warm in the Black Friday queues ...
    gjl229@...
  • RE: Microsoft refuses to specify what it bought from Novell

    unless you have the legal authority to compel Microsft to answer this headline is whack
    mswift@...
  • RE: Microsoft refuses to specify what it bought from Novell

    Argh. I hate it when columnists spread FUD. They aren't commenting because the sale hasn't closed yet, and won't for several months. And even if it were nasty that they didn't spill all for you, you can't tell anything pro or con. Fearing the worst, or assuming the best, neither course is appropriate.
    always-a-geek
  • This marks the beginning of Microsoft's patent war against Linux

    Microsoft has been unable to compete in many IT areas by fielding competitive products at competitive prices. Of critical concern to them is mobile computing (i.e., Android).<br><br>Microsoft will seek to accomplish legally what it cannot accomplish competitively. It may well be too late for Microsoft, but the company will cause enormous damage to the IT industry over the next few decades, as it struggles to leverage its monopoly across many areas of computing.
    trentreviso
    • RE: Microsoft refuses to specify what it bought from Novell

      @trentreviso LOL! Yeah right. They aren't competing with Windows, Kinect, Xbox, Office 365, One Note, Xbox Live, etc., etc., etc.

      Idiot.
      JoeHTH
  • RE: Microsoft refuses to specify what it bought from Novell

    Unicode was developed by Novell and it has licensed it to number of companies including Microsoft. So, Unicode could be one of the IP assets purchased by CPTN.
    rjkothari
    • RE: Microsoft refuses to specify what it bought from Novell

      @rjkothari You might want to read up on Unicode there mate...
      scott2010au
    • RE: Microsoft refuses to specify what it bought from Novell

      @rjkothari If you have any evidence of this I would love to see it with my own eyes.
      scott2010au