Microsoft, Novell stand together on Linux

Microsoft and Novell have announced a partnership between to bring between Microsoft's Windows and Novell's SuSE open source Linux in an effort to promote interoperability and collaboration between Linux and Windows.

Microsoft CEO Ballmer stated that the two companies will work together on virtualization, management and document compatibility. The two companies would also work together on sales and marketing for their products.

'We're going to make clear to the market that interoperability is a good thing,' said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Ballmer stated that he felt Novell's SuSE Linux was 'a version of Linux that respects intellectual property.'

Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian initiated the partnership, saying that there was 'a relationship to be had' between the two companies.

'What was unique was the lineage of both companies in touching the technical part [and] the business [collaboration],' said Ron Hovsepian, CEO of Novell.

Bill Schrier, Chief Technology Officer for the city of Seattle, said that the partnership opens up new opportunities for government procurement.

He noted that his city's web site is based upon Microsoft's .NET framework, but his office purchases separate applications for things such as paying bills and getting business licenses. He said that his office can only use applications that work under .NET.

'With this agreement, we'll be able to get the other half of those web applications, the ones that run on Linux, because Linux will also run on our web site,' said Schrier. 'We'll have twice as many applications for the citizens and constituents of Seattle.'

The two companies also said that dealing with intellectual property and giving customers 'patent peace of mind' was one of the major reasons why they entered the business relationship.

'Customers told us that they wanted us to find a way to address the patent issues directly so they wouldn't have to figure out how to deal with these things instead,' said Brad Smith, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Legal & Corporate affairs. 'By fashioning this covenant, we've figured out how to do that.

However, both companies stressed that despite the partnership, they will continue to compete against each other for contracts and services.

'We're still competitors,' said Ballmer. 'In a good way.' Novell has an ongoing, two year-old antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft over the death of its WordPerfect word processing system.


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