Microsoft & Novell Broker Collaboration Agreements

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Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc., a manufacturer of open-source software platforms such as Novell NetWare and Linux, recently announced a set of business and technical collaboration agreements to make Novell and Microsoft products more compatible. The two companies also announced an agreement to provide each other’s customers with patent coverage for their respective products.


These agreements will be in place until at least 2012. As part of the agreements, Microsoft will buy $240 million of SUSE Linux certificates and dedicate $46 million to sales and marketing for the collaboration. Under this new model, customers will see improved interoperability and manageability between Windows and Linux.


“Obviously, the open-source model and the propriety source, if you will, patent and IP model are very different, and people have struggled for years to find a way to bridge those differences,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at a press conference announcing the agreement. “We think we’ve found a solution that respects both business models but still allows for a workable IP approach going forward.”


The two companies will create a joint research facility at which Microsoft and Novell technical experts will build and test new software. Microsoft and Novell also will seek to make it easier for customers to manage mixed Windows and SUSE Linux Enterprise environments.


Additionally, the two companies will seek to allow OpenOffice and Microsoft Office system users to easily share documents, and both make translators available to improve interoperability between Open XML and OpenDocument formats.


As the arrangement was announced Nov. 2, Novell’s shares went up 15.7 percent to close at $6.79 on the NASDAQ. Microsoft’s shares, meanwhile, dipped slightly.


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