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Microsoft-Novell Relationship Hits the Skids 194

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the what-your-community-told-you-long-ago dept.
Anonymous writes "According to Channelweb, the bloom might be off the rose in the Novell-Microsoft relationship: the two companies didn't sign a single, solitary large customer to a Novell Linux deal during the most recent quarter. 'So Novell, one of the biggest Linux distributors in the world, and Microsoft, one of the biggest companies in world history, couldn't find a single large customer on Planet Earth to buy into Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server software. Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian has stepped up and, rather than point fingers at Microsoft for that performance, put the blame on his company and its inability to strengthen its reseller channel.'"
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Microsoft-Novell Relationship Hits the Skids

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  • Well, seriously... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Who buys Linux in an economy like this?

    • by Yfrwlf (998822) on Friday March 13, 2009 @05:51PM (#27186899)
      And even stupider, who'd want to strengthen software patents and give Microsoft leverage by caving into their FUD and paying for this "protection" racket? All efforts to invalidate all software patents should be taken by all companies and citizens.
    • by schestowitz (843559) on Friday March 13, 2009 @05:56PM (#27186983) Homepage Journal
      "Who buys Linux in an economy like this?"

      People still buy Red Hat. Check their numbers.

      Novell was warned (since the beginning of its relationship with Microsoft) that Microsoft 'partners' consistently get stabbed in the back. It took Novell a couple of years to take the toll.
      • by Kjella (173770) on Friday March 13, 2009 @06:22PM (#27187317) Homepage

        Microsoft 'partners' consistently get stabbed in the back. It took Novell a couple of years to take the toll.

        Not limited to Microsoft, if "partner" implies some sort of revenue sharing then in bad times you'll find they work find hard to find solutions not involving their partners. In ways it can be more frustrating than a straight-up competitor that you know where you got.

      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday March 13, 2009 @06:34PM (#27187451) Homepage Journal

        Novell was warned (since the beginning of its relationship with Microsoft) that Microsoft 'partners' consistently get stabbed in the back. It took Novell a couple of years to take the toll.

        Not to mention that Novell should have known damned well that Linux is the Microsoft alternative. If you tie it in with Microsoft, suddenly it's the Microsoft partner, not the Microsoft alternative. TONS of Linux customers went to Linux specifically to avoid Microsoft lock-in. They're trying to get further away! It's pretty fucking sad when Novell and Sun are both in Microsoft's back pocket.

      • Not sure how to check their earnings but from a google search of "quarterly earnings" they were up 29% in Sept. exceeding projections.
        what are the new numbers?
      • by rtechie (244489) *

        How did Microsoft "stab Novell in the back"? From what I can tell, this deal has only been good for them since it briefly brought the promise of better interoperability with Windows, which didn't happen because Novell dropped the ball and didn't produce anything. SLED really doesn't have better AD compatibility than any other version of Linux. Novell has simply failed to do anything interesting with SuSE. As you pointed out, Novell has lost the corporate market to Red Hat, and that has nothing to do with Mi

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13, 2009 @06:05PM (#27187107)

      Who buys Linux in an economy like this?

      Who buys a proprietary operating system in any economy when you can download and use linux free. And if you need support then you can pay for linux support without ever having to pay for a license, unlike our favorite proprietary software vendors that charge for a license and for support and in in some cases for every client connection to said software. I guess you can't fix stupid.

    • by sloanster (213766) <ringfan.mainphrame@com> on Friday March 13, 2009 @07:50PM (#27188355) Journal

      Who buys Linux in an economy like this?

      Lots of people, including the fortune 100 company i work for. In fact, the linux demand has gotten much stronger, as my employer is dumping old school platforms and moving to linux in the server room.

      The tough times motivate them to maximize their bang for the buck.

      Oh, and trust me, big companies want the official paid support - so that basically means Novell or Redhat, though debian/ubuntu are there in some cases now too, since you can purchase support for either one from HP now.

      • by Macka (9388)

        Oh, and trust me, big companies want the official paid support - so that basically means Novell or Redhat

        Or Oracle: if you're rolling out a lot of 11g databases or going with a RAC cluster; as Oracle Enterprise Linux = Redhat = CentOS, plus a few extras like OCFS2 packaged with it.

        Canonical with Ubuntu Server could yet be a force to be reckoned with as it matures, if the support price is competitive with the other guys. The real trick though is to get Ubuntu Server certified by all the big hardware vendors

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      People who want to install 500 clients and have the management tools handed to them in a set, rather than hand-writing their own? People who need half a dozen servers and someone upstream they can whine to when they need a kernel patch to run new hardware, and get the patch provided pre-release? People who want their bug fixes to show up in the next official release? People who couple the base OS to other commercial services, like VMware? (Although CentOS operates just fine to replace the underlyinkg compon
  • er? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Speare (84249) on Friday March 13, 2009 @05:49PM (#27186855) Homepage Journal
    And I'm sure that all the hiring-freezes, paycuts, forced unpaid furloughs, capital freezes, capital audits, travel restrictions, quarter-by-quarter purchase order approval budget oversight procedures, executive-authorization-required-for-new-staplers, and restructurings that we see in most of the Fortune 1000 have nothing to do with this.
  • Really, Novell doesn't do marketing. They had the most reliable server OS for connecting windows boxes, and Microsoft came and ate their lunch with an inferior (and more expensive) product. Did someone really expect that all of a sudden, Novell would discover the secret to marketing and manage to sell something? Even after striking a deal with Microsoft, they still need to be able to sell their own product - or at least make it look like they are selling their own product.

    Being as they won't likely be able to get (many of) the former Novell shops back to NetWare, if they are planning to revive their company by selling Linux, their goose is cooked.
    • by Mista2 (1093071)

      Novell may be finding out that resellers cant sell a product if they haven't got experiance with it, and you can t get experiance in it without a reseller channel coming along and giveing lots of tech and sales presentaitons, and getting customers to come along to these too. IN NZ, I think the Novell presence is just about dead. I've got one major customer who is using SLES for their linux requirements, but there wasn't one single cent of Novell assistance in the sale. It was only that the customer required

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sjames (1099)

      Netware was good in it's day but Novell rested on it's laurels for too long and became a legacy solutions provider. They've had over a decade to come up with the next new 'thing' and the best they managed was to buy Suse and make an unpopular deal with MS only to find out that businesses that are going with Linux don't really want MS to put it's fingers in it (shocking I tell you!).

    • by Degrees (220395)

      For what it's worth, when Ron Hovsepian was at IBM, he and his crew over there marveled at at the NetWare reseller channel. It was awesome - customers got resellers that knew their stuff, and resellers got lots of money. But when he got to Novell, he was disappointed to find out that the reseller channel had been decimated. I don't know why, although I know that the bean counters were (are?) in charge at Novell, and they were ruining the company.

      Upshot is that Ron Hovsepian told his people to rebuild the r

      • between awesome / expensive (a.k.a. complicated) or good enough / cheap (a.k.a. simple), cheap will win.

        Considering the minimal amount of setup required, I think one could make an argument for NetWare having been the awesome and simple. If you already have a Novell tree, you can go from a system with no OS to a running NetWare print & file server in very little time; and if you don't yet have a tree it doesn't take much longer.

  • OK, cue the violins! Now, all of you at once!

    AAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

    Bruce

  • Muddled Issues (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fm6 (162816) on Friday March 13, 2009 @06:14PM (#27187225) Homepage Journal

    TFA seems to muddle together a bunch of different issues.

    One is the purely Novell issue of not being good at selling stuff. Which might be true (though I spend a lot of time dealing with SLES issues at the hardware vendor I work for) but really doesn't have anything to do with the Novell-Microsoft deal.

    Another issue is the core of the Novell-MS partnership: interoperability. AFAIK, that part is working well.

    Finally, there's the fact that MS is committed to supported mixed Windows-SLES installation, but hasn't bothered to actually sell any SLES licenses. Really, what else do you expect? People actually making deals based on technology they've worked with for years are not going to change their strategies just because management says so. IBM never could get its people to sell OS/2 instead of Windows, and Sun salespeople often continue to push SPARC products to all their customers, even though Sun is now in the x86 business. And in the case of MS, they have particularly limited motivation to sell Linux, since doing so would not actually generate any extra profits for MS.

    • Re:Muddled Issues (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bertok (226922) on Friday March 13, 2009 @08:20PM (#27188677)

      Another issue is the core of the Novell-MS partnership: interoperability. AFAIK, that part is working well.

      Not so much.

      The last time I played with SLES/SLED was about a year ago, and interoperability was not hugely better than any other generic Linux. They just don't have the manpower now to rewrite core stuff themselves. They do have a nice distro with well chosen components, and a default desktop that is very "Windows-Like", which is nice. They even had the start-bar at the bottom!

      However, in the environment where I worked, it all broke down in testing. For example, joining a domain was painful, broken, and flat out didn't work in my client's environment (multi-domain, multi-forest, with users and machines all over the place). It could talk to one domain, most of the time, until you removed a domain controller, which would break it.

      A note to Linux devs working on Active Directory compatibility: When 'joining' an AD domain, a Linux desktop is allowed to ask exactly 3 questions:

      - The name of the domain (either the 'short NT4 name' or 'long DNS name')
      - A user name to connect with
      - A password

      Lets compare this to instructions I randomly found on Ubuntu's support site:

      http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=91510 [ubuntuforums.org]

      That's about 2 pages of config files! NO. Just NO. It's not even slightly correct. I have nothing against config files as such, but "hard coding" parameters that MUST be looked up dynamically is WRONG. You can't state "compatible with Active Directory" when it is clearly NOT COMPATIBLE.

      What happens when the machine and the user are in different domains? What happens if domain controllers move? Why doesn't it automatically locate the nearest servers using Sites & Services?

      Correct behavior isn't even one of those Microsoft secret proprietary things. The API for dynamically obtaining configuration data for a desktop's AD connection is well documented:

      http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms684291(VS.85).aspx [microsoft.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by styrotech (136124)

        That's about 2 pages of config files! NO. Just NO. It's not even slightly correct. I have nothing against config files as such, but "hard coding" parameters that MUST be looked up dynamically is WRONG. You can't state "compatible with Active Directory" when it is clearly NOT COMPATIBLE.

        Your complaint should be with whoever wrote that doc (just a random user reciting what worked for them) not with the software capabilities.

        I have joined Ubuntu machines to AD domains without hardcoding much of that stuff at a

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        What happens when the machine and the user are in different domains? What happens if domain controllers move? Why doesn't it automatically locate the nearest servers using Sites & Services?

        Not to excuse the incompatibility, but... a user on a non-domain system shouldn't be allowed to access a domain system: it's a security problem. And the other things can be configured, just as they can in a Windows environment (except with the keyboard, instead of the mouse).

        Correct behavior isn't even one of those Mi

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday March 13, 2009 @06:15PM (#27187245)

    Well, did you send flowers? No. Did you write anything but crappy emo poetry? No. Actually, no poetry at all. How about flaunting yourself in tight outfits, or at least making some minimal effort to be sexual? No there too. And apparently Microsoft is a louzy kisser (way too much tongue). Big surprise the relationship failed.

    More seriously: What do these people expect? The economy is crap. Nobody's going to be trying anything new right now. And neither side spent much on marketing from everything I'm reading. And at any rate, their marketing strategy is crabbed -- you open with support, not a feature set. Whatever feature set is being offered better be one for one what they have now or don't even bother. Support is the key here -- they should have been screaming "We have technicians trained for this! Really! More than you can fit on a bus!" Except that would be a lie. So they focus on what they can effect: Which is some limited marketing propaganda that won't fool anyone. Microsoft lost its crown jewels when Vista tanked. Now everything they say comes under scrutiny -- Apple's been taking free potshots at them in the general media for about a year now and I see average people parroting those "Hi, I'm a Mac; Hi, I'm a PC" commercials. This relationship needs some pizzaz back in it, and instead Novell comes home to Microsoft wearing a familiar wonderbra and fishnet stockings?! Seriously, we're all supportive of Microsoft getting in touch with it's softer, less monopolistic side, but crossdressing in linux is not the answer. -_-

  • Novel (Score:2, Insightful)

    by certain death (947081)
    Novel needs to pull their collective heads out of their asses if they want to live on...They haven't done a bit of successful advertising since the 2000 superbowl, and that is questionable! They just don't seem to understand the fact that you need to have your shit in front of people in order to get them to buy it. Then they canceled Brain Share, that was the only place anyone ever gets the scoop on what they are doing. Damn! Why are they so stupid?!?
  • It use to be that Novell stuff was extremely difficult to setup, but once you got it running it ran for ever. Like the difference between a Cisco router and a $20 DLINK.

    Anyone still using Novell software today? It's crap. Zenworks 10.1.3 blows up if you try to use it to delete a registry key. It's a known defect a year after the product has been released.

    Check their forums, their software is crap. http://forums.novell.com/ [novell.com] In there you can see they are bleeding customers.

    • by Mista2 (1093071)

      I found this too. I used to love Zenworks, it was fraggin fantastic, but never get the .0 version. That would suck.

      I tied setting up a lab with Open Enterprise Server, I went with the Small Business Server one, as I thought that might appeal to small operators who don't want to fork out NZ$60G plus in licensing for a good portal website (licensing for sharepoint for individually tracked users is hugely expensive), VPN, remote desktop, groupwise for mail, etc. but I couldn't even activate the damn eval produ

  • by icebike (68054) on Friday March 13, 2009 @06:43PM (#27187575)

    > 'So Novell, one of the biggest Linux
    > distributors in the world, and Microsoft, one of
    > the biggest companies in world history, couldn't
    > find a single large customer on Planet Earth to
    > buy into Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server
    > software.

    Why can't you simply cut and paste instead of putting your own lying slant on things?

    You Imply Novell never signed any SLES customers, which is not true.

    The actual article stated:

        "During the first quarter of fiscal 2009, we did not sign any large deals, many of which have been historically fulfilled by SUSE Linux Enterprise Server ("SLES") certificates delivered through Microsoft."

    So Microsoft didn't even try to sell these certificates for SLES. Novell still sold SLES, probably to the very same customers that send Microsoft packing.

    How hard do you suppose Microsoft tried to sell these certificates?

    • Maybe I'm totally confused, But wasn't weren't the licenses that MS sold Walmart [slashdot.org] one of these large sales that the article says didn't happen?
      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        I think those are different than the ones being talked about in this article. Those licenses, if they were ever sold, are "you said you wouldn't sue us for using Linux" licenses.

        The licenses/sales the article is talking about are licenses to actually use Novell products - which are two different things. The "don't sue" licenses are subsidiary and included with the Novell SLES license (which also includes the rights to use Novell's eDirectory, etc.).

        I might be wrong; I've been known to not pay close enough a

    • > During the first quarter of fiscal 2009, we did not sign any large deals, many of which have been historically fulfilled by SUSE Linux Enterprise Server ("SLES") certificates delivered through Microsoft.

      And things like this are why I can't believe Novell still exists as a company. This is just the most recent of many Novell decisions that are so stupid, an appropriately strong derogatory term does not exist in any known language. Here's how Novell management operated:

      1) We pinned our hopes on our big

  • Novell has ALWAYS sucked at Marketing. One reason why we have Microsoft servers today.
  • The Buck Stops (Score:3, Insightful)

    by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Friday March 13, 2009 @06:56PM (#27187711)

    CEO Ron Hovsepian is right; the buck stops with Novell. They're to blame. Not because their retail channel needs to be tweaked. But rather, they got in to bed with Microsoft! I mean, c'mon. Your hedging your bets on a technology that your partner is busy trying to bury. Yeah, sure... Microsoft is trying to help make Windows and Linux work together. Meanwhile, Microsoft's CEO is discussing Linux and so-called IP law like Eddy Izzard discussing the mortality of Englebert Humperdink [youtube.com]. And Novell wants people to pay for the privilege of getting in to the middle of that?

    Over the past few years, I've purchased licenses for Windows, Solaris, and Linux. Not once during these procurements did the name "Novell" come to mind.

  • Red Hat (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Friday March 13, 2009 @08:01PM (#27188479) Journal
    Anybody have any figures for how Red Hat (and Canonical) are doing?
    • by Fri13 (963421)

      We do not know about Canonical because it is privat corporation and it does not need to release it's incomes.

      All what we know is that Mark Shuttleworth has told that Canonical would be independent from it's own income without Shuttleworths money.

      But it really can be so that when Mr. Shuttleworth stops giving money for Canonical, it dies slowly. But the free community is doing the marketing job for them, no matter what is the economical or technical status of quality.

  • So Novell, one of the biggest Linux distributors in the world, and Microsoft, one of the biggest companies in world history, couldn't find a single large customer on Planet Earth to buy into Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server software.

    I know this is a lie. I know two large companies that make wide use of SLES and SLED.

  • Now, I hear tell about a Very Large, Three-year contract with the USPS to deploy Novell's SuSE Linux Enterprise product. I haven't heard of any strict Microsoft involvement, but between HP's consultancy wing, and every major recruitment firm in the U.S., they are apparently having a heckuva time locating an individual with the desired level of competency in some of Novell's Linux deployment technologies, namely AutoYaST, particularly scaled to the level they are deploying at.

    That aside, this is a deployme

    • Monster's Link to the United States Postal Service position: [monster.com]

      HP is proposing an infrastructure solution to support the mission critical US Postal Service project that will modernize the existing USPS.com environment. USPS' objectives are to create a new USPS.com portal that will enhance user experience, provide flexibility to meet market needs, simplify operations and create a venue for additional revenue generation.

      Oh yeah, Wal-Mart [monster.com] has apparently been struggling to keep someone on for their IBM/SLES deployment. This has been going on for a year now - a month or two at a time. They're not exactly small-time, either.

      I don't know, it just sucks that the difference between Redhat and SuSE is so great when it comes to the number of active installations, and how stably they appear to be supported. Maybe it's because I've tried to specialize on SLES during t

  • Ok, here goes.

    Novell couldn't sell ice water in the desert to a man dying of thirst. They couldn't hardly give it to them.

    Have you seen Groupwise 8? More functionality than M$ Outlook / Exchange ... And the back end a zillion times more stable than pub.edb and/or priv.edb

    Netware 6.5 -- yeah a little long in the tooth, but I have servers that are 1-2 years ... YEARS in uptime. Only things that beat that are Cisco switches.

    SLES .. hmmm. Yeah. Not sure i'm into that, just yet. Have I run one? Sure. Did

  • It's worth bearing in mind that whether you like this deal or not, Novell has successfully lifted several hundred million bucks from the Beast of Redmond. That's a lot of money and a huge sum for a Linux company. It may - may - turn out that this money was what Novell needed to keep the show on the road. From the sound of it, this recent news suggests that the deal is now over. Fine, nothing lasts forever. Forward to the next deal. Besides, Novell's problem has always been the same since they acquired SuSE:

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre

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