Microsoft and Novell Announce Broad Collaboration on Windows and Linux Interoperability and Support [Including Extended OpenDocument and OpenXML Interop Support]
REDMOND, Wash., and WALTHAM, Mass. — Nov. 2, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc. today announced a set of broad business and technical collaboration agreements to build, market and support a series of new solutions to make Novell and Microsoft� products work better together. The two companies also announced an agreement to provide each other’s customers with patent coverage for their respective products. These agreements will be in place until at least 2012. Under this new model, customers will realize unprecedented choice and flexibility through improved interoperability and manageability between Windows� and Linux.
“They said it couldn’t be done. This is a new model and a true evolution of our relationship that we think customers will immediately find compelling because it delivers practical value by bringing two of their most important platform investments closer together,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. “We’re excited to work with Novell, whose strengths include its heritage as a mixed-source company. Resolving our patent issues enables a combined focus on virtualization and Web services management to create new opportunities for our companies and our customers.”
While there have been WAY TOO MANY signs over the last year+ that something like this would be taking place, it’s still pretty amazing to see something as official as the above announcement take place.
Wow! Wow, WoW, WOW!
With the above in mind, some of the key “WOW” take aways from the above linked announcement include,
Agreement Has Broad Scope
The two companies will create a joint research facility at which Microsoft and Novell technical experts will architect and test new software solutions and work with customers and the community to build and support these technologies.
Microsoft and Novell will jointly develop a compelling virtualization offering for Linux and Windows.
Microsoft and Novell will undertake work to make it easier for customers to manage mixed Windows and SUSE Linux Enterprise environments and to make it easier for customers to federate Microsoft Active Directory® with Novell eDirectory.
Document format compatibility. Microsoft and Novell have been focusing on ways to improve interoperability between office productivity applications. The two companies will now work together on ways for OpenOffice and Microsoft Office system users to best share documents, and both will take steps to make translators available to improve interoperability between Open XML and OpenDocument formats
“As a result of this collaboration, customers will now be able to run virtualized Linux on Windows or virtualized Windows on Linux,”.
The patent cooperation agreement enables Microsoft and Novell to give customers assurance of protection against patent infringement claims. It gives customers confidence that the technologies they use and deploy in their environments are compliant with the two companies’ patents.
As part of this agreement, Microsoft will provide a covenant not to assert its patent rights against customers who have purchased SUSE Linux Enterprise Server or other covered products from Novell, and Novell will provide an identical covenant to customers who have a licensed version of Windows or other covered products from Microsoft. [MDP:COMMENT: Will be interesting to see how this one plays out in regards to the other distros.]
As part of today’s agreement, Novell and Microsoft are announcing three important commitments. First, Microsoft will work with Novell and actively contribute to several open source software projects, including projects focused on Office file formats and Web services management. Second, Microsoft will not assert its patents against individual noncommercial open source developers. And third, Microsoft is promising not to assert its patents against individual contributors to OpenSUSE.org whose code is included in the SUSE Linux Enterprise platform, including SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop.
Under the business collaboration agreement, the companies will pursue a variety of joint marketing activities to promote the adoption of the technologies they are collaborating on. In addition, Microsoft will purchase a quantity of coupons from Novell that entitle the recipient to a one-year subscription for maintenance and updates to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Microsoft will annually make available approximately 70,000 of these coupons to customers, with a mix of priority and standard support services.
Too many people deserve WAY TOO MUCH credit for enabling this event to take place. That said, I do believe that the folks behind the development of the Mono-Project, led by the hard work and vision of Miguel de Icaza, deserve a ten-minute standing ovation for accomplishing what they have accomplished.
To each of you involved in one form or another in helping to bring this all into fruition,