"Follow the money" was Deepthroat's suggestion to journalist investigators in the Watergate scandal. Several decades later, that same advice helps to unravel the mystery of why Microsoft keeps upping its investment in Novell's SUSE Linux certificates...while simultaneously denouncing Linux for violating its intellectual property and generally wishing that Linux would cease to exist.
As context, Microsoft and Novell today announced an expansion of their 2006 interoperability agreement, which included a controversial covenant not to sue over patent infringement. "The investment focuses on enhanced programs from Novell to provide tools, support, training and resources for customers seeking an enterprise-class Linux platform and specifically, the optimal interoperability solution between Microsoft Windows Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server," writes Fox Business.
But it's not the interoperability provisions that anyone is going to be talking about. It's the $100 million in additional SUSE Linux certificates that Microsoft is buying. I know from friends at Novell that customers are indeed lapping these up, but not for the reasons publicly stated (patent protection (Microsoft) and interoperability (Novell). No, the primary reason is that they are cheap.
With this underwriting of Linux by Microsoft, Novell is able to sell its Linux software at highly advantageous pricing. As Novell's Linux business has grown, it has been able to stand more and more on its own and discount less, but to follow Deepthroat's counsel, you really need to ask why Microsoft would want this.
How do the two companies benefit? As eWeek's Joe Wilcox suggests:… Read more