SEATTLE Aug 19 Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) plans to
pay software maker Novell Inc NOVL.O up to $100 million in
additional subscription fees due to strong demand for Novell's
open-source Linux software that partners with Microsoft's
proprietary Windows software.
The payment to be made by Nov. 1, announced by the companies
on Tuesday, is in addition to a $240 million payment to Novell
from Microsoft in 2006 as part of a broad set of business and
technological agreements to make their products work together for
corporate customers using both Linux and Windows servers.
Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, buys
certificates from Novell and then sells subscriptions to Windows
clients who want support in making their computer systems work
well alongside Linux machines.
The agreement between the companies expires Jan. 1, 2012.
Linux is the most popular variant of open-source software.
Unlike proprietary software, open-source software lets developers
share code and add functions, and users only pay for custom
features, maintenance and technical support.
Novell said it will also spend an undisclosed sum of money to
provide new tools, support, training and resources for
Novell said it has already invoiced $156 million in revenue
from the Microsoft certificates in the first 18 months since the
November 2006 start of the five-year agreement.
The pact between Microsoft and Novell stirred up quite a
controversy in the open-source community because it included among
other things a clause saying that neither company would sue
customers of the other for patent violations.
This clause was seen as an endorsement of Microsoft's claim
that it holds patents to intellectual property behind some
open-source software, a contention rebutted by Novell and others
in the open-source community.
Critics said the deal undermined the patent position of Linux
software and gave Microsoft an edge in persuading businesses to
use Microsoft products over Linux and other types of open-source
A software group that own rights to much of the code behind
Linux software threatened to punish Novell over the deal before
opting not to take punitive action against the company.
(Reporting by Daisuke Wakabayashi)