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Microsoft slaps another $100m on Novell interop pile

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Microsoft plans to cough up $100m in additional subs to software rival Novell with the payment being made no later than 1 November, the odd couple confirmed today.

MS first stumped up $240m to Novell in late 2006 as part of a broad set of biz and tech interoperability deals to make their products play nice together for the benefit of brave souls who wish to mix and match Linux with Windows.

Under the five-year arrangement, which is set to expire on 1 January 2012, Microsoft buys certificates from Novell and then sells subs to Windows fans who want support in making systems work well alongside Linux-based machines.

Over the course of the past 18 months Novell has invoiced more than $157m in certificate revenues, or 65 per cent of the original chunk paid up by Microsoft. So the latest cash injection is undoubtedly good news for Novell revenues.

The unholy pact between the two firms has been consistently slammed by many open source fanciers who view the marriage of convenience as Microsoft's latest effort to grab a fee from Linux customers.

Openistas have grumbled about the small print in the agreement between the two firms that says neither company would sue customers of the other for patent violations. In essence, Microsoft has scored a tasty patent protection and cross-licensing deal with Novell for its technologies.

Novell doesn't mind, though. In fact it thinks selling its soul to Steve Ballmer was a tremendous idea. Last year the dowry for Linux-Windows nuptials topped $350m.®

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