Given the latest “hook up” between Novell and Microsoft, I have received many an email from colleagues asking what I think. Not that it matters, but I do have an opinion. Here it is.
I am a big supporter of Open Source *and* Intellectual Property. You may be thinking “this is oil and water”! No, it’s not. If you can secure a patent from the US PTO and it helps you competitively, by all means, use it to your advantage…but not as a tax. It should be used as a one on one negotiation to license a right, not used to burden an entire ecosystem with a tax, in this case a Linux tax. Many in the Open Source world deem patents to be evil. It’s not the patents that are evil; it’s the business model behind its use and the zealousness of certain leaders promoting that model. In the case of MSFT and NOVL, it’s misguided. This is clearly Microsoft knocking on doors assessing your home value. Novell happens to have the biggest house. It’s a “taxing” message to the industry that MSFT is still acting like a monopoly. You don’t sleep with the enemy and wake up feeling good about it.
Do you really think this concept of patent cross-licensing (keyword here is cross-licensing, Novell has patents as well) between NOVL and MSFT is new? This has been going on for years. Customers have told NOVL to make nice with Microsoft forever, but rarely told Microsoft to do the same. This deal was doomed from the beginning. It’s not exclusive; it gives Microsoft the upper and heavy hand. It’s all threats and chest hair. Maybe some new light will be shed on all of this but I think Novell fell for it. Maybe Novell will see some short term revenue because of it but when the dust settles, and MSFT starts getting other vendors to roll over so they can rub their belly, this deal will be stalled and stale. For those of you considering a similar deal with MSFT, please run away. Force their hand. Don’t sell out.
StreamServe is a global leader in dynamic document composition, delivery, and
document management software solutions
for ERP and CRM systems.