Joe Panettieri, Former Editorial Director

November 2, 2006

1 Min Read
Microsoft, Novell: The Hidden Agenda

Ray Noorda is spinning in his grave. The former Chairman and CEO of Novell would be shocked to see his former company partnering with bitter rival Microsoft. But that’s exactly what happened today. Under terms of a new partnership, the duo is working to make Windows and Linux work better side-by-side in the enterprise.

The VAR Guy has seen this Microsoft strategy before. The software giant often signs partnerships with weaker companies in order to:

1. Avoid anti-trust problems (exhibits A and B: Apple Computer and Sun Microsystems). Ironically, Microsoft’s investment in Apple gave Steve Jobs the time and funding he needed to corner the market on digital media.

2. Get its hands on much-needed technology (exhibits C and D: Spyglass and Sybase).

3. Topple a big threat by partnering with a smaller rival (exhibit E: Nortel).

The Microsoft/Novell partnership fits the third scenario. Here’s how The VAR Guy sees it: Microsoft is using Nortel to offset Cisco Systems’ advances with computer-telephony integration and unified communications. Similarly, working with Novell allows Microsoft to cause confusion in the open source market, where more than 70 percent of North American Linux servers are running Red Hat.

Boost Novell a little bit, and it may slow Red Hat’s momentum until Windows Longhorn arrives.

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About the Author(s)

Joe Panettieri

Former Editorial Director, Nine Lives Media, a division of Penton Media

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