Cool Solutions

Microsoft and Novell, Working Together…Say, What?!


November 3, 2006 5:42 am





Tux embracing Windows This afternoon [Nov 2] was the first I learned about what I see as a massive announcement: Microsoft agrees to collaborate with Novell to make their software interoperate with Linux.

Beg your pardon? Novell and Microsoft sharing the love? Despite the eerie feeling that something has gone horribly wrong with the space-time continuum, this makes a lot of sense if you know Ron Hovsepian at all. The first time I ever heard Ron Hovsepian speak, he was on stage before the entire North American sales force. He was brand new to Novell. I expected the usual, “I did this and I did that” kind of talk as his introduction. Instead, Ron told a story about the first customer he ever worked with in his life, and that he could still call on that customer today. Then he cited the phone number from memory. Ron’s point? It’s not about him, or anyone else in that room. It’s about serving our customers. (I liked him immediately.)

Since his time at Novell, Ron has been working to change Novell’s systems and methods to be about the customers. Throughout his steady rise to become Novell’s chief executive, that’s been his steady campaign. So it was no surprise to me when, during the press conference web cast, Ron responded to a question about how this big announcement came about by saying that he started it back in April. He called a former customer of his, now working in a senior role at Microsoft, and asked him to help him get the two companies to set aside all the old rivalries (20 years!) and do what is right for our mutual customers.

Yes, it’s a huge day for Novell, for SUSE Linux, and for open source software. And, for Microsoft. But moreso for the businesses who simply want Linux/OSS and Windows to work well together.

Expect more from me on what this is all about from the technology and community side–there is a lot more to discuss. But for now, I use this post to fulfill a promise made so long ago that it’s almost forgotten: the much-delayed post about Ron Hovsepian becoming Novell’s new CEO.

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  1. By:flyingGuy

    What I fully expect, is for Novell, to get screwed, yet again.

    There is not a SINGLE company that competes with Microsoft on anything that matters that has “partnered” with them that has not been just totaly F*&^E# over by the Gates & Balmer show. Go ahead, name JUST one!

    Someone needs to take Novell’s CEO on a walk down memory lane just to see how bad Novell has been screwed by Microsoft EVERY time this has been attempted.

    Do You ya Remember Windows for Work Groups? Do Ya Remember MAPI? Does anyone there remember ANYTHING? This is the stupidest move I have EVER seen.

  2. By:Ian

    What’s that quote, “those who forget history are doomed to repeat it”?

  3. Bill:
    One company? Citrix. I recently spoke to someone at Citrix who corrected me when I made a statement about how MS had really worked them over back on the WinFrame deal. The Citrix guy sternly corrected me, telling me that they make more money through Microsoft than all of their other partnerships combined and that Microsoft has been excellent to work with.

  4. By:flyingGuy


    With all do respect you didn’t RTFP. I said “competes with Microsoft on anything that matters”. EVERY sale of Citrix is sale for MS, not just a server but Terminal Services CALS ( for any version > against

  5. I don’t see how this announcement can screw up Novell. This is geared more toward the enterprise customer than toward Novell or Microsoft. The only way I can see that target getting ‘screwed’ is if neither side puts the statements in writing with the product. This protects me the enterprise customer from legal and copyright issue with technology from either. There is a promise that they will work together, but there are plenty of tools to make the products work together now. If those tools improve, great!! If they don’t, I am still protected. Neither side is saying that they won’t continue to compete, but they are saying that they are not going to go after the customer, like SCO. That one item makes this deal a winner now, if it adds to the future a bigger plus, but it is a winner now.

  6. By:flyingGuy

    Commander Noell: Lord Ballmer, Our agreement was…
    Darth Ballmer :Commander, I have modified out agreement, pray I do not modify it any further.

    Sound familiar? Can you say Windows for WorkGroups, can you say MAPI.

  7. flyingGuy, as you mentioned to someone else, please read what I said. “The only way I can see that target getting ’screwed’ is if neither side puts the statements in writing with the product.” That is the only way I will feel comfortable about this. Microsoft has not gone back on its contractual protection of the customer. They have modified it, but never taken the protection fully away.

  8. […] For those following the comments on Cool Blogs in relation to Ted Haeger’s posts here and here – we have an update. […]