Microsoft and Novell said Wednesday that the software giant will invest more into the companies' SUSE Linux partnership. As part of the agreement, Microsoft will buy up to an additional $100 million in SUSE Linux support certificates.
The partnership (all posts) between Novell and Microsoft kicked off in November 2006 with a five year agreement worth $240 million. In the agreement, Microsoft buys Novell certificates to resell SUSE Linux in enterprises. It's all part of a mixed source move in enterprises. Novell has said the Microsoft deal has provided a halo effect for SUSE Linux.
Given that Novell has invoiced $157 million of these Linux certificates it was running out of headroom on the deal. With Microsoft's latest commitment (statement) to buy certificates Novell's Linux operating results should continue to get a Redmond boost. Microsoft's latest investment will begin Nov. 1, 2008.
Despite hackles, the partnership between Novell and Microsoft has been a success with customers. Microsoft has given Novell more enterprise traction and the software giant gets to co-opt open source slightly. Customers--Wal-Mart Stores, HSBC Holdings, Renault, Southwest Airlines, BMW--don't care about the Windows vs. open source debate because they're will be mixed source anyway. Meanwhile, open source groups like the Free Software Foundation are resigned to accept the Microsoft-Novell partnership, but have taken steps to prevent a similar deal in the future in the latest General Public License.
The companies said Microsoft's additional investment will focus on "enhanced programs from Novell to provide tools, support, training and resources" for customers looking to make Windows Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server interoperable.