10. Microsoft And Linux
Last month Novell agreed to be acquired by Attachmate for $2.2 billion. Along with that sale was a mysterious side deal to sell a boat-load of patents (reportedly 892 altogether) to CPTN Holdings, a consortium of technology companies organized by long-time Novell rival Microsoft.
Novell, which owns the SUSE Linux distribution of the open-source operating system, wouldn't disclose details about those patents. But a good guess is that Linux technology was part of the deal. Microsoft and Novell struck a technology marketing and licensing alliance in 2006 under which they share some intellectual property.
Microsoft has always had a rocky relationship with Linux. The company has long maintained that technology in Linux violates Microsoft patents and has threatened to resort to legal action. Last year it resolved one such lawsuit against the Dutch manufacturer of the popular TomTom GPS device. The question now is how this latest development is going to affect the Microsoft-Linux dynamic. We see a Top 10 story for 2011 developing…