Skip to main content

Microsoft renews controversial SUSE Linux deal for five years

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Microsoft and Attachmate have announced a five-year extension to an agreement that has the Redmond software giant reselling SUSE Linux certificates to business customers—along with a promise not to sue those customers if Microsoft ever decided to take Linux to court. The deal is an extension of a controversial deal Microsoft made with Novell back in 2006—that deal was worth about $240 million; the value of the new deal is open ended, to be doled out in $100 million increments.

“Our collaboration with SUSE not only helps customers to achieve success today, but also seeks to provide them with a solid foundation for tomorrow,” said Microsoft’s Open Solutions Group general manager Sandy Gupta, in a statement. “Through our continued engagement on the technical side, an outstanding support offering from SUSE and our ability to provide mutual IP assurance, we feel confident that we will be able to deliver core value to those running mixed-source IT environments well into the future—and into the cloud.”

Microsoft’s original deal with Novell raised alarms in the Linux community. On the face of it, the deal was essentially a pledge from Microsoft that it would work the ensure its WIndows-based solutions had a high degree of interoperability for SUSE Linux, effectively blessing the SUSE Linux distribution for use in enterprises and organizations with mixed Windows/Linux infrastructures. However, for years, Microsoft has been warning that it believes Linux violates a large number of its patents, and has been threatening to take on Linux vendors. The SUSE Linux deal gave enterprise customers using the system immunity, implying that customers who didn’t have a patent covenant agreement with Microsoft would be vulnerable.

However, although Microsoft is going after the Linux-based Android mobile operating system—demanding (and receiving!) per-unit payments from some Android device manufacturers, Microsoft has yet to go after Linux distributions like Ubuntu or Red Hat…implying, five years after it struck the deal with SUSE, the broader Linux ecosystem might not have much to fear from Microsoft.

The renewal of the deal is good news for Attachmate: Attachmate completed its acquisition of Novell earlier this year, but the SUSE interoperability and patent deal had accounted for much of Novell’s SUSE Linux revenue. As part of the Attachmate acquisition, Novell sold almost 900 patents to a consortium headed up by Microsoft.

Editors' Recommendations

Geoff Duncan
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Geoff Duncan writes, programs, edits, plays music, and delights in making software misbehave. He's probably the only member…
Microsoft confirms Windows 10 21H1, its first major update for this year

Just one day after rumors indicated a potential announcement, Microsoft has officially revealed the first major update to Windows 10 for this year. Appropriately named Windows 10 21H1, the update is now available for "seekers" in early preview testing in the Beta branch of the Windows Insider program. For everyone else who isn't a beta tester, Microsoft is targeting a May 2021 rollout via Windows Update.

"We are introducing the next feature update to Windows 10, version 21H1. As people continue to rely on Windows more than ever to work, learn, and have fun, we understand the importance of providing the best possible update experience to help people and organizations stay protected and productive. It is a responsibility we do not take lightly," said Microsoft.

Read more
The best Cyber Week Microsoft Surface deals for 2020
blink xt2 security camera apple watch series 3 airpods pro ipad mini microsoft surface 7 lg 4k tv dell xps 123 samsung galaxy

Expensive tech like computers and tablets are always the fastest-selling items during annual holiday sales, and this year, that includes some fantastic Cyber Week Microsoft Surface deals. If you're after what are easily the best Windows tablets and 2-in-1 laptops that money can buy in 2020, then read on: We've got everything you need to score a last-minute discount on a Surface device, along with a short buying guide to help you find the perfect one, right here.

Don't limit your Cyber Week bargain hunt only to Microsoft Surface deals, though. There are also plenty of still-ongoing Cyber Week laptop deals and Cyber Week tablet deals on tap from the major online retailers. But act fast -- delivery is taking longer than usual this year and Cyber Week will be over soon, so don't piddle around and miss out on what could be your last chance to save big on a Surface device before 2021.
Best Cyber Week Microsoft Surface deals
Some of the hottest bargains we've seen today have been this Surface Laptop 3 deal and a Surface Pro 7 deal. Find more discounts below:

Read more
This could be the best Microsoft Office deal we’ve ever seen
learning at home

One of the nice things about buying a new TV, soundbar, or security system, is that it’s not just for you, it’s for everyone. That’s something we rarely see in computing (it’s harder to share your wireless headphones), which is what makes this offer from Dell really special. Right now, you can get Microsoft 365 Family and McAfee Total Protection for only $100. That’s $90 off its original price of $190. The best part? This software can be installed on up to six devices, meaning that the entire family can enjoy this one deal.

When it comes to Microsoft offerings in terms of business and work software, the Microsoft 365 Family is really as good as it gets. Unlike the standard Microsoft Office, it offers cloud support and multi-device compatibility. This is a serious advantage when you’re shopping for a household where the projects range from your work presentation to the monthly budget to your kids’ book reports. Also, cloud support is the ultimate peace of mind, not only giving you access from anywhere, but offering real-time backups which will save you from losing any info, or work, ever.

Read more