Novell CEO refutes MS patent talk

The first cracks have begun to emerge in the partnership between Microsoft and Novell

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By  Published  December 3, 2006

The first cracks have begun to emerge in the partnership between Microsoft and Novell.

Following comments by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer last month that Linux uses its intellectual property, Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian issued a letter to the open source community refuting the claims.

Ballmer, speaking at the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) conference in Seattle, US, last month, said Microsoft had signed the agreement to promote interoperability between Windows and Novell’s SuSe Linux operating system (OS) because Linux “uses our intellectual property”.

“Novell pays us some money for the right to tell customers that anybody who uses SuSe Linux is appropriately covered,” he noted.

Hovsepian said the agreement — which states that both firms agree not to sue the other’s customers over patent issues — in no way amounted to an admission that SuSe Linux infringes on Microsoft’s patents.

“We disagree with the recent statements made by Microsoft on the topic of Linux and patents. Importantly, our agreement with Microsoft is in no way an acknowledgement that Linux infringes upon any Microsoft intellectual property,” he stated.

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