RealTime IT News

Babysitter Tapped For Novell-Microsoft Pact

With the loyalty of customers riding on the intricate relationship between Novell  and Microsoft , it makes sense to have someone step up and oversee the crucial pact.

Novell today said it has appointed Susan Heystee, vice president and general manager for global strategic partners, to nurture the business and technical cooperation efforts in the Novell-Microsoft agreement to make Linux and Windows products work better together.

The agreement, announced by Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer earlier this month in San Francisco, calls for each company to exchange millions of dollars over the next five years, covering technology, patent licensing and marketing costs.

The companies will offer customers looking to run Linux and Windows side by side in a virtualized environment Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) and a subscription for SLES support along with Microsoft Windows Server, Microsoft Virtual Server and Microsoft Viridian.

Heystee, who also manages Novell's relationships with IBM, HP and Dell, will oversee the companies' work on virtualization, Web services management and document compatibility, the business relationship around Microsoft distribution of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server subscriptions, and joint marketing and sales cooperation, according to a Novell statement.

"We know customers, partners and the community are looking for concrete results from this agreement, and I'm excited to help deliver those results," said Heystee, who was promoted to president of sales for Novell Americas in August 2005.

The deal is complicated without even getting into the patent covenant, an area Microsoft and Novell still characterize quite differently.

Novell will receive $240 million from Microsoft for roughly 70,000 SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) "certificates" that Microsoft may use itself, distribute or resell.

The certificates provide the bearer with a subscription support for Novell's SLES server Linux distribution.

Under the terms of the patent covenant agreement between Novell and Microsoft, Novell will receive a payment from Microsoft of $108 million for use of Novell's patents.

Novell has agreed to pay at least $40 million a year for five years for a total of $200 million to Microsoft as part of the patent covenant.

Microsoft, which is pumping $60 million into joint Linux-Windows marketing and $34 million for a dedicated sales force to push the joint Linux-Windows offering, has agreed not to assert its patents against Novell's end-user Linux customers.

The patent covenant is a touchy subject; some feel Linux infringes on Microsoft's intellectual property, and Ballmer has said publicly that Linux "owes" Microsoft.

Hovsepian disagreed in an open letter last week. Microsoft responded that the companies have "agreed to disagree" on the matter.

Novell's deal comes on the same day Microsoft is launching its latest multi-billion-dollar babies: the corporate versions of the Windows Vista operating system, along with 2007 Office system, and Exchange Server 2007.

Novell launched some software of its own today.

The company unveiled Open Enterprise Server 2, which will provide workgroup services on SUSE Linux Enterprise and include virtualization, storage and file management perks when it ships in 2007.