I’m not the least bit surprised that the Wall Street Journal is reporting that VMware will be buying Novell’s Linux business. After all, I suggested that VMware could really use Novell’s SUSE Linux for its future, and I also knew that Novell was in hot and heavy merger and acquisition talks earlier this week. My own sources have also now confirmed that VMware is Novell’s suitor.
I still don’t know those critical questions of how much, when, or any of the rest. According to the WSJ, and this I have been unable to confirm, Novell’s remaining assets, including NetWare, Novell’s old network operating system may end up in the hands of “Attachmate, which is owned by private equity buyout firms, which include Golden Gate Capital and Francisco Partners. Attachmate is a 30-plus year terminal emulation and networking company that could probably do a good job of supporting the last of Novell’s die-hard NetWare customers. In short, this part of the reported deal also makes sense.
Whether VMware will do a good job of taking care of SUSE Linux is another question. VMware CEO Paul Maritz is a former Microsoft powerhouse. Don’t think though that just because at one time he might have been in line for Microsoft’s CEO chair that he’s a good friend of Microsoft these days. When Microsoft rently took out an ad in USA Today urging businesses not to buy long-term VMware licenses, whatever love was left was lost.