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Microsoft Novell SuSE Linux

How Many SUSE Subscriptions Can You Get For $240M? 121

itwbennett writes "According to an SD Times article, Microsoft is almost through passing out the infamous subscription certificates for SUSE Enterprise Linux that it purchased for $240 million as part of its investment in Novell. According to the article, Microsoft says that 'a total of 475 customers have used an unspecified number of coupons.' Blogger Brian Proffitt calculates that 'if indeed just 475 customers have received these coupons, then Microsoft has essentially subsidized SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) deployments to an average tune of US$505,263.16 per customer.'"
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How Many SUSE Subscriptions Can You Get For $240M?

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  • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @12:09PM (#30996522) Journal
    Microsoft has a special hounds training program. They train them to smell a very subtle scent that exist only when wealth and stupidity is mixed. They call this program "marketing". Open source sellers have moral qualms about it and prefer to solve stupidity which they see as a core problem. Guess who is making money ?

    Now the important question : am I trollish, insighful, funny or CowboyNeal ?
    • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @12:11PM (#30996570) Journal

      You know, It's funny how often those 4 coincide...

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      The Microsoft shills will mod you "flamebait" for your funny comment, Mr. Neal!

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by Foredecker ( 161844 ) *

      People have "moral qualms" against marketing? Do you? really? What the heck is wrong with marketing? I suppose you dont like lots of things then. Are you going to level your criticisms at all companies that engage in marketing? How about the company you work for? Do they do marketing?

      Next, you mention "stupidity". Thats a great word to throw around.... can you be a bit more specific? Its easy to call someting stupid. Its harder to say why.... come on, spend a little time on it.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @12:27PM (#30996828) Homepage

        > People have "moral qualms" against marketing?

        Yes. Little things like lying and fraud bother some people.

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          Mostly people will defraud themselves, there's no reason why "rich, famous and sexy person uses product X" should imply "product X will make me rich, famous and sexy". Customers are much happier to buy an overpriced item at reduced price than a full price item because they feel smart, they're as much looking to beat the "fair" price as the marketers are. And you shouid always recognize that a marketer will talk about the ideal customer, that "Teach Photoshop in 21 days" will not make you an artist, that exe

          • Were you a loan officer in a previous life?
          • Mostly people will defraud themselves, there's no reason why "rich, famous and sexy person uses product X" should imply "product X will make me rich, famous and sexy".

            You my friend, are labouring under the presumption that human-beings are rational. Taking advantage of the human condition is why we have a laws in the first place -- because we could scape every law in the rulebook if people could be trusted to behave themselves.
          • by jvkjvk ( 102057 )

            You must be very ignorant of what actually goes into marketing to make blanket statements like this.

            There is a reason major marketing firms hire psychologists and wire people with electrodes to correlate stimulus techniques with brainwave response.


      • by notque ( 636838 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @12:53PM (#30997292) Homepage Journal

        Marketing was created as a systematic way of lying to people. Marketing not only shows a contempt for Democracy (Marketing for candidates), but contempt for Markets (which are supposed to work with "perfect information", the very thing marketing avoids.)

        • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @02:21PM (#30998836) Journal

          Marketing not only shows a contempt for Democracy (Marketing for candidates), but contempt for Markets (which are supposed to work with "perfect information", the very thing marketing avoids.)

          I don't think that's always the case. What if you have a good product that no one knows about? There's a lack of information in the market, which marketing can help fix.

          The problem is dishonesty in marketing, not marketing itself.

          • The problem is dishonesty in marketing, not marketing itself.

            You can remove the marketing from dishonesty, but you cannot remove the dishonesty from marketing. Buyer beware.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by cmacb ( 547347 )

            True to a point. But if a product is really good, word of mouth takes over, the product becomes well known and eventually starts to "sell itself". What then is the need for a marketing effort in a company such as Coke, or Microsoft? It certainly doesn't consist of educating people about the product. More often it consists of giving the public a warm and fuzzy feeling about the company itself. Paving over mishaps as quickly as possible, pushing product out a retail channel faster than might be needed,

        • 'Good' marketing (in the sense of good for the economy and population at large, which isn't always the same as good for the company paying for it) helps that market assumption of 'perfect information': It informs you of a product you didn't know existed, and gives you the reasons why it might be a product you would wish to buy.

          Of course, most of the people/companies paying for the marketing would rather it informed you of a product you didn't know existed, and created a need to buy that product. Regardless

      • > What the heck is wrong with marketing? Doing scientific research into how to make children more effective naggers [] is plain immoral.
        • So Microbox - what do you do for a living? Do you work for a company? Are the marekting people there imoral?

          My question is this : why the broad brush? Is it all marketing that you have qualms about?

      • Foredecker,

        This is a reply to several of your comments, not just this one. It seems that I have something to say that may or may not be useful in your thinking.

        As you have seen, people are often very negative about Microsoft. They are also usually not very eloquent or organized in their thinking when they express their negativity.

        There is, however, a strong foundation for their negativity. Microsoft top managers have in the past been extremely destructive toward Microsoft customers. For example, Mi
        • Hi FuturePower,

          I think that is a salient comment. One of the reasons Ive chosen to participate here on Slashdot is to be an apologist [] for Microsoft people specifically, and for the company to an extent.

          Two things bug me the most

          • When people just make stuff up about Microsoft. As a company, we certainly deserve criticism, but wow, some people sure make up some goofy stuff. I ask people to criticize all they like, just dont make stuff up.
          • A certain class of people say really nasty personal things about peo
  • In related news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Maniacal ( 12626 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @12:19PM (#30996686)

    Microsoft Corporation announced today that customers who deploy their server solutions can save over $400,000 when compared to deploying a solution based on SUSE Linux.

  • I wouldn't be suprised if - included with the dollar figure - they are adding in Windows 2008, SQL 2008 and other back office products they sell. Keep in mind, that Microsoft even has Novell at their launch and TechNet events showing off SLES on a server with Win2008 instances (each of which require a license) running in XEN virtual machines.
  • Customer != users (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @12:20PM (#30996718) Homepage Journal
    Each company could be count as one customer, but theirs hundreds of users could count in the price of the license.
  • Xcalc? (Score:1, Funny)

    by mystikkman ( 1487801 )

    This struck me as a very interesting figure, because after firing up XCalc, I figured out that if indeed...

    Was that before or after jumping into his Ferrari and flashing his iPhone? Why do people need to display their smug superiority from the unwashed masses when any decent calculator would give the same result?

    • How is that smug superiority. It's what he did and likely he didn't think anything of saying that.

      People do say "firing up calculator", "firing up google", "firing up IE". when they do those things.

      And running a calulator program on a computer is hardly "elite" or smug.

      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by c0d3g33k ( 102699 )
        Because "firing up [my] calculator" is necessary and sufficient to describe an action that has been commonplace for more than 30 years now. It's an unremarkable action, so any mention of specifics has to be deliberate. Maybe smug superiority wasn't the intended goal, but something was. Perhaps an attempt to self-identify as a 'cool' FLOSS user' or a hardcore nerd. But something.

        For example:

        "I drove to the recycling center and got in line behind the other cars" vs. "I drove my Prius to the recycling

        • Except that Xcalc is shorter than calculator. So it's both more accurate and less verbose. Both your examples are simply adding extra words which serve no purpose other than advertising themselves. There's no addition in the xcalc example, it's a simple way of saying "I didn't add this up in my head".

          I would say "fired up calc" over "fired up a calculator", and showing that I use the window calc program isn't the goal of the statement. It's just how I see the action. If I used excel instead I'd say "fired u

      • Yes, but... let’s say... Apple users are especially well-known for using Apple products as e-penises.
        Of course far from all. But unfortunately the loudest ones are usually the worst, and are seen best.
        So it’s likely that GP’s experience made it most efficient, to just assume it’s a fanboi.
        You can judge that as prejudice. But pay attention that you’re not falling into prejudice with that, yourself. ;)
        I just see it as “most likely possibility, based on own experience”

    • I thought XCalc was a calculator for the X windowing system.
      Oh, and if somebody brags with his material stuff, we all know that that’s all he has, and *needs* to brag, in order to be able to accept himself. Just like acting all “Oh, what time do we have? Wait, I’ll just look at my *$30000 ROLEX*” will not get you any real girls. (Except for those that you don’t want anyway.)
      No need for you to mention it. We’re on your side already. :)

      By the way: Qalculate! is the best cal

      • Wait, I'll just look at my *$30000 ROLEX*" will not get you any real girls. (Except for those that you don't want anyway.)

        Speak for yourself. Money may not be able to buy love, but it sure can buy a few nights of steamy passion -- and sometimes, that's all that is wanted.

  • The total number of clients is not what they seem to think - a client might have 1,000 - 5,000 machines, thus taking hundreds or thousands of certs.
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by c0d3g33k ( 102699 )
      Thank you. I was myself about to point out the rather "convenient" oversight. Who needs clear thinking when sensationalism is as stake?
      • Re:Bad math alert! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara@hudson.barbara-hudson@com> on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @01:47PM (#30998312) Journal

        When it comes to Novell+Microsoft,, there hasn't been much clear thinking making the rounds.

        For example, the whole Mono fiasco. de Icaza is a Microsoft fanboy, but that doesn't mean that openSuse is somehow "contaminated" by Mono. Just remove mono-base with teh package manager and it all goes bye-bye. Your machine will continue to work just fine (actually, better than fine since doing so also removes Kerry Beagle, resulting in a much more responsive machine).

        Then there's the whole "patents deal" hysteria. What do I care about what Microsoft claims the deal was about? Ultimately, Ballmer is a snake-oil salesman, after all. The deal was more likely made as a back-door way to compensate Novell for the expenses Microsoft indirectly caused by financing the SCO attack against linux, which Novell has been doing a lot of the heavy lifting in the courts - remember, there was talk about piercing the corporate veil wrt the $50 million PIPE deal.

        SLED is not opensuse. There may be stuff in SLED (which has proprietary extensions and applications), that needs Microsoft's okay for virtualization to work with Microsoft products. So what? Doesn't affect me, since I can't see any scenario where I would want to run linux instances hosted on a Microsoft server, or Windows instances hosted on a linux server.

  • by jpobst ( 262199 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @12:34PM (#30996936)

    If you click the links in the slashdot summary, you'll end up at the original announcement, which told you roughly how many subscriptions the deal was for: 70,000. []

    I guess that's not as much fun as wild speculation though.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So actually numbers are $240,000,000/70,000=$3428.57 per coupon. Seems to me the term "subsidized SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) deployments" is a pretty accurate statement, don't you agree?

  • by Joe Snipe ( 224958 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @12:55PM (#30997348) Homepage Journal

    When you put it that way, Windows 7 ultimate is a bargain!

  • GPLv3 tried to take advantage of the coupons to extend MS's patent protection to all users. I wonder how successful that has been.
  • 3.5 years later (Score:4, Interesting)

    by neurovish ( 315867 ) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @01:36PM (#30998128)

    Novell stock has lost 30%

    Microsoft stock has lost 1%

    Redhat stock has gained 78%

    Good going Novell, yet another stellar business decision. The $240mil had to have been the value of the entire deal, which was mostly beneficial to Microsoft in that they weren't going to be sued by Novell since Novell owns a lot of the UNIX patents. The licenses were being resold by Microsoft at prices substantially less than ($240/77)x1000

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      I get it, when we're talking about Bing search share, any % increases are to be downplayed by 'well increasing from 0 to 1 is a Infinity% increase!' whereas when it comes to Red hat stock, play it up. Alright.

    • What if those UNIX patents were to fall into other hands through the acquisition of Novell?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by McBeer ( 714119 )

      Novell stock has lost 30%

      Microsoft stock has lost 1%

      Redhat stock has gained 78%

      Stock price probably isn't the best way to demonstrate that a firm is doing well or poorly as it is based largely on speculation. I like to look at profit per employee. If you take that metric:

      Microsoft: $156, 656
      Novell: - $59,083,
      Red Hat: $28,107

      or if you're looking to actually invest in one of these companies, price earnings ratio (smaller is better) is a useful metric:

      Microsoft: 15.63
      Novell: N/A
      Red Hat:69.37

      So you can see while Red Hat stock price is doing pretty well, Ret Hat itself isn't making a

    • It's not inconceivable that Novell would be a smoking hole in the ground today if they didn't deal. No, I don't believe it either. Also, from where I'm sitting, Novell already looks like a smoking hole in the ground. Or, at least, some kind of hole.

  • I'll bet that one of those customers is that "slashdot" site I've heard about. I've heard they'll do anything for a freebie. What a bunch of MicroSoft fanboy's!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    ... which is a competitive curve ball against Red Hat. Period. Red Hat's profitable income is heavily concentrated in relatively few major volume accounts, served direct (not by resellers). So, all Microsoft are doing is cross funding Novell to try to take the average unit prices down significantly in those accounts, as part of a strategy to undermine Red Hat's business model in some way. If you follow the reporting line of the folks doing the joint selling, it maps back through MS Legal and Corporate Affa
  • I wonder what's going to happen in 2011, when the Novell-Microsoft "agreement not to sue on the valuable Microsoft intellectual property" patent agreement runs out.
    To be honest, I haven't the faintest idea what will happen to Novell's customers. If I screw my tin-foil hat on tighter, I'd guess that Microsoft would start to rumble about customers with Mono to have to pay royalties. After all, the agreement's duration was long enough for Mono to have caught on in mission-critical software, surely there's pr
  • I've just started a wiki page to document the Novell-MS deals : is a publicly editable wiki, so if you'd like to contribute to building the case against software patents, dig in!

You are in a maze of little twisting passages, all different.