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Microsoft and Novell Bring Linux Deal To China

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A year and a half after first announcing their landmark interoperability and patent protection deal, Novell and Microsoft are now targeting China.

In their release (which they sent out late Sunday night) the two partners called the new push, "an incremental investment in their relationship."

Essentially what they're doing is providing a focussed effort to China in the cities of Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing to get CIOs to move to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) from other unsupported versions of Linux.

"We
recognize that our customers want to use Microsoft products in heterogeneous
environments, and therefore we are pleased to offer this option to meet customer
needs in one of the leading global markets," said Ya-Qin Zang, Microsoft
corporate vice president and chairman of Microsoft China in a statement. "We are very pleased
with the initial response in the Chinese market to our joint offerings for IP
peace of mind and technology interoperability in such areas as virtualization
and high-performance computing."

Novell has been a leading Linux distribution in China for some time, and as far back as March of 2006 they were actually claiming to be THE leader. The Chinese market for Linux however is increasingly competitive with offerings from TurboLinux, Red Hat and Asianux all competing for a slice of the world's fastest growing economy.

Whether or not a joint Microsoft/Novell push will help or hinder Novell (and Linux in general) remains to be seen. That said, in my honest opinion it seems unlikely that the additional effort with Microsoft could be anything but a good thing for Novell's prospects in China.

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