Novell credits Microsoft for soaring Linux sales

The creator of the Suse distribution says its Linux sales have grown by 243 percent, largely due to a partnership with Microsoft.

Novell says its Linux business has grown by 243 percent over the last three quarters, and it largely credits its deal with Microsoft.

Novell has reached $100 million in revenue from Linux over the nine-month period, thanks to the close working relationship it has had with Microsoft since the two companies signed their collaborative deal in November.

As part of the deal, Microsoft offers support for Novell's Suse Linux, and the two companies are working on making their respective software interoperable.

"For Novell's first three quarters of our fiscal year, our Linux business was up 243 percent," said Justin Steinman, director of marketing at Novell.

"This (sales increase) is public endorsement that our joint engineering efforts are already paying dividends to customers operating in a mixed environment, which, by the way, is pretty much all Linux users today," said Steve Harris, senior sales director for open source at Novell. "It helps us to maintain momentum and our investments in this collaboration work, which will continue to drive growth in our Linux business worldwide."

It is the interoperability between Linux and Windows that "is really receiving a lot of customer interest right now," Harris said.

As an example of the cooperation between the two companies, earlier this month, Microsoft and Novell announced a joint development lab in Cambridge, Mass., that will focus on cross-platform interoperability. The lab, which measures 2,500 square feet, will host a combined team of eight Microsoft and Novell engineers and two directors, working to make Windows Server and Suse Linux Enterprise work together, according to a statement from the two companies.

One of the key areas of interoperability work will be in virtualization, which is seen as a crucial area by many IT professionals. The lab will also work on file formats, systems management and directory technology integration.

Novell's main competitor in the Linux market, Red Hat, announced its quarterly results this week. The company said its quarterly revenue of $127 million was up by 28 percent compared with the same quarter last year.

Its subscription revenue of $109 million was up 29 percent, Red Hat said.

Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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