While many Linux users hated the idea of the Microsoft/Novell partnership from the start, Ian Bruce, director of Novell public relations, says that “Customers drove” the latest expansion of the Novell/Microsoft deal.
In the latest chapter, Microsoft and Novell announced on August 20th that Microsoft had committed to purchase up to $100 million in SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server) support certificates Essentially, once more Microsoft will be selling Novell Linux to its customers again. .
According to the Novell press release, “As part of the initial five-year partnership agreement, Microsoft purchased $240 million of Novell certificates to sell to customers. Within 18 months, Novell invoiced more than $157 million in certificate revenues, or 65 percent of the original allotment. Customers who have already taken advantage of this opportunity to seamlessly run both Windows Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server include Wal-Mart Stores Inc., HSBC Holdings, Renault, Southwest Airlines Co., BMW and many other leading companies around the world.”
Microsoft is investing more money in SLES certificates because of. Bruce said, “customer demand. The incremental investment was made in order to meet the increasing customer demand for a business model that delivers seamless integration of SUSE Linux Enterprise and Microsoft Windows and provides IP peace of mind for organizations operating in mixed source environments. And as we continue to see requests from companies across the globe, we want to ensure that our customers have the tools and resources to facilitate their moving toward an enterprise-class Linux platform that is seamlessly integrated with their Windows platform.” Microsoft will be able to start selling the new certificates on Nov. 1, 2008.
In addition, according to Bruce, the two companies will continue to push forward on their joint virtualization and directory work. Specifically, Bruce mentioned that the two are continuing their work on supporting “optimized hosting and management of Windows Server 2008 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server in Microsoft Virtual Server, Hyper-V and Novell Xen.” and “improved directory and identity interoperability federation between Microsoft and — Novell products based on WS-* standards.”
Moreover, Bruce also said that Novell and Microsoft on adopting a “common framework for solutions to enable management of mixed environments based on industry standards; enhanced interoperability for Open XML Format and ODF (open document format) documents between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org Novell Edition; and an open source implementation (Moonlight) of Silverlight,” (Microsoft’s .NET-based multimedia) plug-in for Linux OS.”
“Cross-platform interoperability is something that we all want and need to achieve. But it’s difficult to accomplish this,” said Ulrich Koch, Novell’s Head of License Management in a statement. “The pragmatic approach Microsoft and Novell are taking to address this complex challenge, including IP assurance, through engineering as well as offering tangible support and training programs, will make it easier for us to develop a path forward.”
In a statement, Ron Hovsepian, Novell’s CEO, said “The strategic partnership between our companies continues to attract customers by building a bridge between proprietary and open source software. The interoperability delivered by Microsoft and Novell has resulted in very high demand for SUSE Linux Enterprise from customers and channel partners, further validating Novell’s Linux strategy.”
Bruce seconded this.”We’re both responding to customer demand.” More to the point, Novell’s recent financial reports, show that customers, like it or lump it are finding the idea of Linux and Windows working together on the server level to be very attractive.