Microsoft and SUSE renew their partnership

Microsoft and SUSE have announced a renewal of their agreement on interoperability, first established in 2006, which will see Microsoft spend $100 million on SUSE Linux Enterprise certificates for its customers receiving Linux support from SUSE.

When Microsoft and the then-Novell-owned SUSE announced the original deal back in 2006, it was met with scepticism: many accused the Linux specialist of selling out to the big-bad-Microsoft, pointing to the removal of anti-Microsoft adverts from the Novell website as evidence that it had been 'bribed.'

The original terms of the deal saw Microsoft pay $348 million to Novell for subscriptions to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server while agreeing to spend a further $46 million marketing a combined Windows Server and SLES offering over a five-year period. During this time - and in exchange for indemnification from any patent-related lawsuits Microsoft may or may not bring against other Linux vendors - Novell agreed to pay at least $40 million to Microsoft.

While many in the open source community viewed the deal with suspicion - claiming that Novell's payments to Microsoft allowed the software giant to claim 'proof' that Linux infringed on its patent portfolio - customer reaction has been somewhat more positive.

"We rely on the SUSE Expanded Support Program to migrate part of our IT operations to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server," claimed BBVA Bank's infrastructure manager Fernando Martinez, "as it supports our objectives for greater interoperability for our Windows and Linux systems."

BBVA is one of an estimated 725 companies world-wide who have taken advantage of the interoperability agreement to implement a fully supported heterogeneous server environment combining Windows Server and SUSE Linux, the companies claim, and that impressive adoption rate has led to the renewed agreement.

"I have met directly with an impressive number of IT executives around the world over the past 12 months who have spoken highly of the solutions we have delivered jointly with SUSE to their organisations which address priority problems," writes Sandy Gupta, general manager of Microsoft's Open Solutions Group.

"The vast majority of these individuals have requested that we continue our collaboration work with SUSE, as well as consider expanding the scope into new areas. A great many have taken advantage of the expanded support offering, recognizing the efficiencies they could gain by standardising their Linux platform distributions.

"Today’s announcement is a response to sentiments expressed by customers far and wide that Microsoft and SUSE begin crafting the next chapter of the cross-platform interoperability story," Gupta concludes. "I look forward to seeing the renewal of this relationship take shape over the next four years, and encourage you to keep your eyes on Microsoft and SUSE 2.0."