[sclug] Open Letter to the Community from Novell

Patrick patrick at kirks.net
Wed Nov 22 08:29:36 UTC 2006

Novell is a company that sells to big corporates and deals like the MS 
one are bread and butter among vendors of that type.

Their buying SuSE puzzled me at the time.  If you look at their track 
record in desktop software, they buy companies, mangle their software 
while rebranding it, sell it at a loss and lose market share at same 
time and then they sell the company on at a huge loss.  The utter 
destruction of WordPerfect comes to mind.  In 3 years, they ceded market 
leadership to Microsoft Word by devoting themselves to re-coding the 
application first in Assembler(!) then in Java(!!) while skipping the 
move to 32 bit applications in 1995. By the time it was sold some 
Canadian outfit, MS Word coded in plain old C++ and Basic had moved to 
32bits and was the standard.

My puzzle was "How can they possibly make any money off selling Linux?"
I mean, these guys sell NetWare to 1000s of users at a time.  How on 
Earth can free software fit into that sales model?

This deal with Microsoft looks like an effort to solve that puzzle.

The legal agreement by Microsoft not to sue Novell customers is the 
finest example of FUD from Redmond in many a year.  Somewhere in 
Microsoft a marketing genius has lined himself up for the bonus of the 
century.  Imagine agreeing not to sue someone who has done you no harm 
at all except give business to a competitor!

Soon we will see BA promise not to sue EasyJet customers for 
trespassing, Rupert Murdoch agreeing not to sue Private Eye readers for 
shoplifting and Tony Blair promising not to ASBO Lib Dem voters for 
having beards...

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