Microsoft Adds $100 Million To Novell SUSE Linux Support Deal


The new deal is part of an initial five-year partnership agreement that Microsoft signed in 2006 in which the Redmond, Wash.-based company purchased $240 million of Novell certificates to sell to customers. In that deal, Microsoft began to officially recommend SUSE Linux Enterprise for customers who wanted Windows and Linux solutions. In addition, Microsoft also distributed coupons for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server maintenance and support for customers.

"The collaboration between Microsoft and Novell has been built on our desire to meet our customers' real-life IT requirements as well as give our partners greater breadth in their solution offerings," said Kevin Turner, Microsoft's chief operating officer in a statement. "Some customers have told us they want to be able to run Windows Server and Linux together seamlessly, but in many cases, they need help with the transition to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from other Linux environments."

The companies had once been fierce rivals, and the alliance caught the industry by surprise.

"They said it couldn't be done. This is a new model and a true evolution of our relationship," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the time. "Resolving our patent issues enables a combined focus on virtualization and Web services management to create new opportunities for our companies and our customers."

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According to Microsoft, the original alliance was so successful that within 18 months Novell invoiced more than $157 million in certificate revenues, or 65 percent of the original allotment.

"Cross-platform interoperability is something that we all want and need to achieve. But it's difficult to accomplish this," said Ulrich Koch, head of license management, T-Systems Enterprise Services at Microsoft, said in a statement. "The pragmatic approach Microsoft and Novell are taking to address this complex challenge, including IP assurance, through engineering as well as offering tangible support and training programs, will make it easier for us to develop a path forward."