The Benefit of Interop for Novell’s Business


The past two weeks have been crazy for me, and blogging has taken a back seat. Just to get myself back into it I thought I would comment on a news item I saw concerning Novell’s business.

This comes from ZDNet UK:

Novell has claimed its Linux business has grown by 243 percent over the last three quarters, and it has credited its deal with Microsoft as a big factor.

The article focuses mostly on the fact that the investments in the joint engineering to improve interoperability between Windows and Linux that has made the difference. Customer are interested in Novell’s products because of the collaboration with Microsoft.

There is no better endorsement of why interoperability is so important than when the market speaks through its purchasing choices.

I have made a number of blog posts about what we view the underpinnings of interoperability to be, and that standards do not make up the sum-total of interoperability. The work around the standardization of Open XML and document formats is hugely important, but without implementations being done in real products, without business relationships being setup to drive testing, support, services, etc, without IP being addressed as a mechanism for collaboration – without these items, standard are not going to deliver interop. It is the combination of all of these elements that is so important.

This is good stuff, and is real evidence of the quality of the interop work we have been doing for the past 2 years. I’m really pleased to see this.

As for all of the great threads about Open XML that have been going on while I have been doing my day job at Microsoft…I’ll get to them, I promise.

Comments (6)

  1. Swashbuckler says:

    While the deal certainly seems to have benefited Novell, the 243% number seems off to me.  I’d certainly like to hear how that guy arrived at the number.

    My research shows that before the deal Novell had Linux related revenue of $13M, $10M, $12M and $13M.  Since the deal I see $15M, $19M and $21M. Certainly a significant improvement, but not a 243% improvement.

  2. Matt Asay says:

    Jason, this would indeed be good news, if Novell were selling interop.  But it’s not.  That’s not what it’s sales team is selling.  Just ask them.  They’re selling patent FUD.  

    Even on the interop part, it’s bogus.  Red Hat Enterprise Linux works as well with Microsoft as SUSE does.  In fact, given that many more customers run the two together, I would bet that RHEL actually works better with Microsoft technology than Novell’s SUSE does. Customers make that interop work, not two vendors scheming for a way to mutually cut out a strong vendor.  Ubuntu?  Works with Microsoft as well as SUSE.  Mandriva?  Yep.  They all do.

    We should absolutely celebrate interoperability.  It’s good for customers.  We shouldn’t, however, do what Novell has been doing: skewing the truth (also known as "lying").  Patent FUD is not a good basis for a business.  True interop is.

  3. jasonmatusow says:

    Matt –

    We agree that interop is good for customers. I will also happily agree that we are doing a good job providing the capability for strong interoperability with a wide range of Linux distributions. But, I know the sales team working with Novell who are going on joint customer calls, and they are talking interoperability. Part of that conversation is IP, and yes I think that matters too. This is old ground. The effective bridging of IP issues in the Linux/Windows world is an important part of interoperability. IP is one of the underpinning issues of business relationships between vendor companies – copyright, trademarkt, and yes, patents.

    As for the "schemeing" – we have a business partnership focused on selling more product. We have this same type of relationship with a significant number of other Linux providers, and thousands of other ISVs as well.

    Swashbuckler – I’m just quoting from the story. I think the meta issue is that business is better for them since the announcement of the deal. Customers like the idea of us working on Linux/Windows interop – we hear this just about every day.

    thx all.

    Jason

  4. Dating says:

    The past two weeks have been crazy for me, and blogging has taken a back seat. Just to get myself back into it I thought I would comment on a news item I saw concerning Novell’s business. This comes from ZDNet UK : Novell has claimed its Linux busines

  5. Weddings says:

    The past two weeks have been crazy for me, and blogging has taken a back seat. Just to get myself back into it I thought I would comment on a news item I saw concerning Novell’s business. This comes from ZDNet UK : Novell has claimed its Linux busines