Story: Questions I’d like to see customers asked about the Microsoft-Novell dealTotal Replies: 0
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Dec 12, 2006
7:04 PM EDT
* Do you have any more peace of mind regarding IP protection, given Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's claims shortly after signing the deal with Novell that Microsoft believes Linux infringes on Microsoft intellectual property?

Yes and no. This deal does not impact the horror that is the current US patent system. However, we have already seen that companies like SCO are not afraid to sue their own potential customer base with regards to Linux. With Microsoft's large patent portfolio it is likely that some cover elements of Linux (they likely cover the way I wash my hair as well). Until the patent system is reformed, I suppose companies will be forced to do strange things to protect customers.

* Are you planning to make use of the Microsoft Office-OpenOffice interoperability tools and technologies that Microsoft and Novell plan to provide?

As strange as it sounds, all of the networks I've used have Microsoft products, including Microsoft Office, so the answer for me, is "of course". But I suppose I could be in a very very tiny minority of users that still use Microsoft products somewhere.

* Do you have any idea why Novell is paying Microsoft $40 million as part of the recently announced collaboration agreement? Does your understanding (or lack thereof) regarding this payment affect the way you perceive the deal between the companies?

Yes... but it's not an "idea why", it's what we already know from what Novell has already stated. A better question would be, "Why doesn't Mary Jo Foley understand why Novell is paying Microsoft $40 million?"

* Do you believe other Linux vendors should enter into similar pacts with Microsoft? If so, why, and if not, why not?

Clearly this is a decision that only a few companies could do... so, I don't see many trying to negotiate a pact to protect their customers from SCO-like lawsuits. I don't believe many, if any, will try to do the same. And I can guess that Novell wouldn't have made the pact if it were just $40 million for a covenant not to sue rather than the existing deal which also involves the purchase and distribution of many copies of Linux.

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