Microsoft, Novell making more noise in China

Microsoft and Novell's joint effort to persuade Chinese IT executives to pay for their software

Microsoft and Novell announced Monday that they are intensifying their joint effort to persuade Chinese IT executives to pay for their software, specifically through the much maligned marketing relationship that finds Redmond beating its deafening drum for the SUSE Linux Enterprise distribution controlled by its onetime bitter, now compliant rival.

The press release issued by the two companies focuses of a trio of Chinese companies -- People's Insurance, The Dairy Farm Company and Dawning Information Industry -- that have agreed to pony up for SUSE support through Microsoft.

"It's very encouraging to see that our business and technical collaboration continues to resonate with customers around the globe," said Ron Hovsepian, president and CEO of Novell. "Both Novell and Microsoft are committed to furthering this alliance, and we couldn't be happier with the results to date. PICC, Dairy Farm and Dawning exemplify the benefits our strengthened alliance provides for the international IT community."

"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. "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."

That "peace of mind" business can be taken any number of different ways.

Microsoft, of course, is not in this to sell SUSE Linux or to advance the cause of open source. From the Boston Globe:

Al Gillen, software analyst at IDC in Framingham, said that Microsoft wants businesses to pay for software, even if it's Linux instead of Windows. "From Microsoft's point of view, nonpaid Linux is a bad thing," he said, "because it implies that there's no value to the operating system, regardless of what operating system it is." Persuading companies to pay for Linux turns it into a commercial product, like Windows. That makes it easier for Microsoft to compete against Novell. "Over time, of course, Microsoft is going to try to move those customers off of Linux and onto Windows," Gillen said.

In the meantime, memory of the Novell that used to be continues to fade with each passing day, witness the appearance of NetWare on this ignominious list of "5 IT skills that won't boost your salary."

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