Following up on the completion of our stock options review, we filed our 10-K yesterday, including as exhibits the three agreements we signed with Microsoft last November 2: the technical collaboration agreement, the business collaboration agreement and the patent cooperation agreement. Back in November, we outlined why we thought this deal was good for customers, and explained the main components of the agreements – the focus on technical interoperability, the plan for joint marketing and sales activities, including Microsoft’s commitment to deliver certificates for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server subscriptions, and the convenants not to sue over patents we exteneded to each other’s customers. We believe the text of the agreements published yesterday
provides important additional detail on the scope of work going on between the two companies. The documents show that the two companies have made some deep commitments of time and resources to working on important interoperability challenges. They also reveal a strong mutual commitment to making the joint solutions successful in the marketplace.
As you’ll see from reading the filings, Novell has redacted information in the agreements that it considers confidential and competitively sensitive.
We’ve said in the past this would be the case. This is standard practice in situations like this.
We hope the documents give people additional insight into our agreement with Microsoft. We continue to strongly believe – and are working hard to prove – that this deal is beneficial both for customers, and for Linux and open source more broadly.
May 27 update- A number of articles about the filings indicate incorrectly that we are excluding OpenOffice from the covenant not to sue under the patent cooperation agreement. That’s not the case. This confusion likely stems from language in the agreements around a “grandfather clause” for certain products.
The covenants Microsoft and Novell make to each other’s customers relate to ‘Covered Products.’ Some products with certain characteristics – known as ‘Excluded Products’ – do not qualify as Covered Products, and thus are not covered by these covenants. Certain products available before November 2, 2006, however, are automatically covered under these covenants, regardless of whether or not they have the characteristics of an ‘Excluded Product’. The reference in the patent cooperation agreement to OpenOffice simply means that it does not qualify for this automatic coverage. It does not mean it is not covered by the covenants.
As we jointly stated with Microsoft in November, OpenOffice is covered under the patent cooperation agreement.