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November 02, 2006

Microsoft and Novell - Foes Now Friends?

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 11/02/2006 11:44:00 AM

It's amazing what has happened in the operating system and desktop application space since the rise of Google Inc. (Nasdaq GOOG). A decade ago, the last thing you would expect would be a partnership between rivals in the OS space like Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq MSFT) and Novell Inc. (Nasdaq NOVL). But now that the big G is on everyone's backs, foes are friends and friends are foes. From friend to foe: Think Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq YHOO) and Google. From foe to friend: Think Microsoft and Novell. These latter pair of erstwhile foes are now partnering. Microsoft is expected to announce a partnership where it will support SUSE Linux! Have we entered the Twilight Zone?

Under the pact, which isn't final, Microsoft will offer sales support of Suse Linux, a version of the operating system sold by Novell. The two companies have also agreed to develop technologies to make it easier for users to run both Suse Linux and Microsoft's Windows on their computers. The two companies are expected to announce details of their plan today at a press conference in San Francisco. Why the sudden friendship? They want browbeat RedHat. By forging a peace pact with one seller of Linux, Microsoft could raise pressure on Red Hat Inc., the leading provider of Linux, and a Novell rival. Last week, Oracle Corp. announced that it would start selling its own support for Red Hat's version of Linux, a plan that undercuts Red Hat's own business, which is based on providing support and maintenance. Red Hat's shares fell sharply after that announcement.

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