The Microsoft-Apple-Oracle-EMC consortium, CPTN Holdings, is apparently still intent on acquiring 882 Novell patents, according to reports.
A consortium headed by Microsoft is continuing in its plans to buy nearly
900 Novell patents for $450 million, according to reports.
That consortium, CPTN Holdings LLC, includes Apple, Oracle and EMC, in
addition to Microsoft. That company exists in the United
States, having been registered Nov.
4 as a corporation in Delaware
indicated by IT World
and other publications. But according to PC World
, CPTN apparently
withdrew its application to acquire the patents with the German
Federal Cartel Office
Dec. 30, leading some open-source advocates to
celebrate what they saw as a sure sign of the deal's demise.
However, the plans to acquire the patents, many of which relate to open
source, seem to be underway-despite protests from groups such as the Open
Source Initiative (OSI).
"This is a purely procedural step necessary to provide time to allow for
review of the proposed transaction," a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in a
Jan. 11 statement sent to TechFlash and other media
Given the amount of code present in those Novell patents, open-source
advocates are portraying the deal as potentially catastrophic for their
"Whereas Novell was sincere in promoting and participating in open-source
software development and had an incentive to maintain their patent assets as a
defensive portfolio, CPTN has all the motives and opportunity to do the
opposite," reads part of OSI's position
statement on the CPTN transaction
. "CPTN creates a cover to launch patent
attacks against open source while creating for each principal a measure of
plausible deniability that the patent attack was not their idea."
Swamped by financial troubles, Novell
agreed in November to an acquisition by Attachmate Corp. for $2.2 billion in
. At the time, Novell also indicated that it would sell a variety of
intellectual property assets to CPTN.
In a November research note, Jefferies & Co. analyst Katherine Egbert
suggested that Microsoft had its eye on Novell's intellectual property "related
to WordPerfect, which Novell acquired in the late 1990s, and through which
Novell had sued Microsoft for anticompetitive behavior." Microsoft had ended up
paying the company several hundred million over several years.
Meanwhile, IDC analyst Matt Eastwood
suggested that Microsoft could also be targeting Novell's Platespin data-center
management and virtualization technology, which can be leveraged in building
out a private cloud-computing platform.
In any case, should CPTN complete its deal for those 882 Novell patents,
trust that the open-source community will decry it for some time to