Technology Decision Makers Upbeat About Microsoft-Novell Deal

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-12-12 Print this article Print

Nine out of 10 IT professionals polled said they approve of the collaboration agreement between the two companies as this will benefit IT customers and increase the interoperability of IT systems.

Technology decision makers are very upbeat about the recent agreement between Microsoft and Novell to improve interoperability between Windows Server and SUSE Linux, a survey commissioned by the two companies has found. Some nine out of 10 of those polled said they approve of the collaboration agreement between the two companies as they feel this will benefit IT customers and increase the interoperability of IT systems.
The survey, which was conducted by market research firm Penn, Shoen, and Berlund, was designed to gauge market perception of the recent collaboration between Microsoft and Novell.
It involved 201 online interviews with IT decision makers in the United States between Nov. 17 and Nov. 20. Read more here about how Microsoft and Novell made peace over Linux. An IT decision maker was defined for the purposes of the survey as an IT executive, manager or staff member with significant decision-making authority related to technology purchases. Their organizations also had to have at least 500 PCs. Respondents were running a mix of Windows, Solaris, IBMs AIX, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Novells SUSE Linux and free, unsupported Linux. Some 75 percent of the respondents believe that the agreement will decrease the patent infringement risks for IT customers, while 86 percent felt that the agreement removed the potential customer risks around intellectual property and software patent infringement. To read more about how the Microsoft/Novell deal has caused strife, click here. While 89 percent of those IT decision makers currently running a mixed Windows/SUSE environment said they will be more likely now to consider using Novells SUSE Linux going forward, some 79 percent of those running Red Hat Linux said the same. A majority (61 percent) of the users surveyed also said they feel Microsoft is working harder than others to form alliances to make sure its software works better with other products, while 67 percent said the deal gives them a more favorable impression of the Redmond, Wash., software giant. The survey also found that IT professionals want platform providers to work together to solve interoperability problems, and to provide tools that make it easier for the end user to navigate both Linux and Windows environments. Click here to read about the open letter that Novell issued to the Linux and open-source community. They also remained concerned about potential intellectual property issues, with some seven in 10 saying that they are more likely to deploy Linux if it comes with intellectual property rights that limit their exposure to risk. Almost nine in 10 of those surveyed also said it is the responsibility of their software vendors to resolve intellectual property issues before deploying services. Both Justin Steinman, Novells product marketing director for Linux, and David Kaefer, director of business development for intellectual property and licensing at Microsoft, told eWEEK they are not surprised by the results of the survey. "This is consistent with what we have been hearing from the customers we have talked to and who want our companies to work together and believe that the deal will bring tangible interoperability benefits," Kaefer said. Next Page: Why Novell did the deal.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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