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Firm's MS-backed Novell buyout sparks Linux lawsuit fears

updated 03:50 pm EST, Mon November 22, 2010

Attachmate buys Novell with Microsoft help

Attachmate today bought Novell in a deal that has triggered worries of renewed lawsuits and legal pressure from Microsoft. The share-based purchase, equivalent to about $2.2 billion, had only Attachmate acquiring the SuSE Linux owner directly, but Microsoft in an SEC 8K filing saw 882 patents transfer to CPTN Holdings, a patent holding alliance Microsoft runs. The Windows developer was "pleased" with the deal, but Deputy General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez wouldn't say which patents had been acquired or explain motives.

Linux users and developers have already raised concerns as Microsoft has relied on claimed patent ownership to both silence legal challenges and to try and halt competition from Linux. Although Microsoft has never had its patent ownership formally disputed in court, it reached a cross-licensing deal with Novell in 2006 that, combined with existing patents, has been used to either sue or force royalties from multiple firms that either develop or use Linux. Novell's appeal against a loss in a WordPerfect case may also come to an end.

The patent terms used for Linux have this year been swung into action against Android as well, as Microsoft has both struck a secret deal with HTC and sued Motorola, with other firms likely to be target soon. Microsoft claims all Android makers must pay but has so far dictated its response based on the size of the company as well as its willingness to sell Windows Phone 7; HTC is a key WP7 launch partner, while Motorola has so far kept its focus on Android.

Despite the shift, Novell's iPhone development support shouldn't be affected as MonoTouch should remain in place with Attachmate as the owner. The acquiring company may be focusing primarily on Novell's Platespin datacenter and virtualization technology. [via ZDNet]



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -2

    Huh?

    Why in the world would anyone spend 2.2 billion on Novell?

  1. rtbarry

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +10

    here we go again...

    MS couldn't get those idiots at SCO to destroy linux for them, so they'll try a new route.

  1. rtbarry

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +8

    @testudo

    well, Microsoft, of course. they don't care about the Novell bit much, but they're behind this. since they haven't been able to crush Linux in the marketplace, they'll try dragging them down in the courts again, and put the squeeze on every company using Linux toa significant degree.

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