Fresh off striking a conciliatory tone with Novell, Microsoft is now going on the offensive with a program to woo NetWare users to the Windows platform.
To that end, Microsoft has laid out a program of financial incentives, tools, prescriptive guidance, training and technical support in an effort to get NetWare users to migrate to Windows Server 2003. The move comes less than a week after Microsoft settled lingering anti-trust legislation with Novell.
But Novell is again on the Microsoft radar after acquiring SuSE Linux a year ago and retooling its middleware line-up around the Linux platform. Novell is threatening to Microsoft because it has a cache of corporate infrastructure tools that it can meld with its Linux platform much like the services - including the directory and management tools - Microsoft has for its own operating system.
The move on Novell is the opening salvo on Linux vendors.
Microsoft officials said in September that their year-old "Get The Facts" campaign against Linux would shift from targeting the open source operating system in general to the individual companies that market the software, including Novell, Red Hat and IBM.
"Looking at the Novell SuSE acquisition and the momentum they got from that we realised this was an inflection point for customers to consider some broader options," group product manager for platform strategy at Microsoft, Amanda Morgan, said.
"Customers said the [migration] hurdle wasn't so much the dollars, it was the tools and training for migration."
With that information, Morgan said, Microsoft created the US Mid-Market NetWare Migration Promotion. This was targeted at small-and-midsize businesses,and offered users a $US600 subsidy on purchase of partner services to help with NetWare migrations. The subsidy applied to each Windows Server 2003 license purchased with 50 client access licenses. The limit was 25 servers per customer.
On top of the financial incentive, Microsoft is also including its Services for NetWare, a set of interoperability utilities available free from its website. Customers with more than 1000 users also qualify for 20 per cent discount on Quest Software's NDS Migrator, a tool for moving from Novell's directory to Microsoft's Active Directory.
The program's training plan includes a half-day Novell GroupWise to Microsoft Exchange migration workshop, and a two-day NetWare to Windows planning and migration workshop. Step-by-step migration guidance manuals for both Service for NetWare and the Quest tool are also included.
Users also get unlimited migration technical support via Microsoft newsgroups.
The caveat of the program is that it only applies to purchases made between October 25, 2004 and May 1, 2005 or until the first 1000 claims for the services and financial incentives.
The NetWare program is being driven by Microsoft's platform strategies group, which is run by Martin Taylor. Taylor spearheaded Microsoft's Get the Facts in an attempt to show it offers better value than Linux. The program has included some controversial analyst reports sponsored by Microsoft that extol the virtues of Windows compared to Linux on such things as security, reliability and total cost of ownership.
A spokesperson for Microsoft Australia said the migration program was available in this country but did not include the $US600 rebate.