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Novell-MS Deal


This page is devoted to the Novell-Microsoft patent agreement of November 2, 2006. First you will find links to documents and public statements that you might be looking for, followed by a chronological list of all articles on Groklaw on or related to the agreement.

[ Documents ]  [ Statements ]  [ Chronological List ] 



  • Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer - "If a customer says, 'Look, do we have liability for the use of your patented work?' Essentially, If you're using non-SUSE Linux, then I'd say the answer is yes." (also statement the translator will not be 100%)
  • Samba Asks Novell to Reconsider
  • Novell VP Justin Steinman Says No
  • Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian's Nov. 20th Letter to the Community "We disagree with the recent statements made by Microsoft on the topic of Linux and patents."
  • Microsoft Responds "Microsoft and Novell have agreed to disagree on whether certain open source offerings infringe Microsoft patents and whether certain Microsoft offerings infringe Novell patents."
  • Novell's IRC session on the Microsoft deal, LWN, November 27, 2006
  • Novell's Michael Meeks' Blog
  • Novell's Miguel de Icaza's Blog
  • Microsoft's Jason Matusow
  • MS Admits OS Patent Pledge Missed Target
  • Eben Moglen statement and here
  • Ron Hovsepian, the president and CEO of Novell on Dec. 20, 2006, on announcing the first 16,000 subs signed up said it offers "powerful, early proof points of the value of our joint collaboration, and we expect more success stories like this over the coming quarters. By solving a real customer problem, taking the complexity out of the customers' hands and addressing it ourselves, we create a compelling incentive for customers to deploy Linux. This shows that SUSE Linux Enterprise is, in fact, absolutely ready for the data center."
  • Ron Hovsepian: The pact not to sue was "an agreement that is squarely driven off of our desire to help our customers. We would not violate GPL2 [GNU General Public License, Version 2]—we are very committed to that. We are very committed to Linux, and the bottom line is that we are building an extra layer on top of our public position already on patents," he said. Hovsepian said he didn't regret that part of the deal. Part of Novell's maturation as a business and a member of the open-source community "means that it sits in a unique position, where it is balancing customer relationships with community relationships," he said. He also reiterated that Novell does not acknowledge any patent infringements with open source "in any way, shape or form. We would never do that, as we believe there aren't any." That despite the fact that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said publicly he believes the agreement acknowledges just that. "We have agreed to disagree on that," Hovsepian said.
  • Justin Steinman on when Novell will publish details about the agreement: "We are a public company. We will publish the details of the Novell and MS agreement. However we are currently undergoing a voluntary stock option review as we have made very public. We are one of 500 American Tech Companies doing the same thing right now. Until we finish that, we cannot legally by US SEC regulations publish any material data about our business transactions. The Novell and MS agreement is considered material data. Once we are finished with the voluntary review, we will publish the details of the Novell/MS agreement, as legally required by the SEC."
  • press coverage and here (including Simon Phipps)
  • Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian, December 20, 2006 on whether the patent deal is in the best interest of Novell customers: "Absolutely. It's good for the customers because they don't have to worry about those things. I'm disappointed that we haven't communicated our intent as clearly [as we should have] to the [Linux] community. The messaging got bogged down."
  • Jeremy Allison of Samba: "Whilst the Microsoft patent agreement is in place there is *nothing* we can do to fix community relations. And I really mean nothing," Allison wrote. "Until the patent provision is revoked, we are pariahs....Unfortunately the time I am willing to wait for this agreement to be changed ...has passed, and so I must say goodbye."
  • Novell's Justin Steinman: "How do I differentiate from Red Hat? We work with Windows."
  • Sun CEO Jonathan Schwarz pledges Sun's patents will defend Red Hat and Ubuntu
  • Dennis Crouch of Patently-O: "Microsoft refuses to state which particular patents are infringed in an attempt to avoid retaliation from FOSS advocates. However, the statements certainly put Linux and its users under a dark cloud -- potentially sufficient for a declaratory judgment action under MedImmune v. Genentech (2006)"
  • Justin Steinman says Novell was pleased and displeased about Microsoft's patent threat in the Fortune article: "If Microsoft is going to go out and raise concerns, we are comfortable we can offer (customers) coverage," Steinman said. Overall, though, Novell wasn't pleased. "Do we wish the tone of the article had been different? I think so."

Chronological List

[ May 2007 ]  [ April 2007 ]  [ March 2007 ]  [ December 2006 ]  [ November 2006 ] 

May 2007

April 2007

March 2007

December 2006

November 2006

Last Updated Wednesday, December 16 2009 @ 04:04 PM EST

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