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Microsoft and Novell Mark Two Years of Interoperability Progress

Strong customer demand, technical collaboration and commercial success affirms strategy and partner model.

REDMOND, Wash. and WALTHAM, Mass., Nov. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Marking the two-year anniversary of their agreement to build a bridge between SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Windows, Microsoft Corp. and Novell, Inc., today are celebrating strong customer demand for their business model and strategy that provides interoperability and intellectual property (IP) peace of mind. The companies are announcing two significant milestones resulting from the Microsoft and Novell technical collaboration: the coming availability of an Advanced Management Pack for SUSE Linux Enterprise for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 and a free beta download of Novell's Moonlight rich media application. The companies are also reinforcing the fact that Novell's new SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Subscription with Expanded Support program will be supported through Microsoft's sale of certificates for Novell service.

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"Customer interest and uptake has far exceeded our expectations," said Susan Heystee, general manager for global strategic alliances at Novell. "This continued momentum from our strategic relationship with Microsoft is the catalyst driving the innovative solutions and technologies our two companies are announcing today. We're seeing especially strong demand in the datacenter, where a mixed-source environment is increasingly the norm and where our delivery of true interoperability is compelling."

In the second year of their business collaboration agreement, Microsoft and Novell have added more than 200 new joint customers, including Alticor Inc., BP Oil International Ltd. and China Mobile Ltd., which are receiving certificates from Microsoft for three-year priority support subscriptions for Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. When the five-year agreement was signed in November 2006, Microsoft purchased certificates to sell to customers, which then redeemed those certificates with Novell for a subscription to SUSE Linux Enterprise. In the first two years of the agreement, Novell has invoiced more than 70 percent of the original certificate purchase.

"The interoperability and IP peace of mind that our agreement provides is clearly resonating with customers," said Susan Hauser, general manager of strategic partnerships and licensing at Microsoft. "After two highly successful years, we've demonstrated that our business model works, and we will continue collaborating to provide innovative solutions for our customers. And with our sale of certificates for Novell's new Expanded Support program, even more customers, including those running Red Hat Enterprise Linux, will be able to access the benefits of our relationship with Novell."

As part of today's announcement, Microsoft and Novell are revealing the details of two new offerings resulting from the joint technical collaboration. Novell is announcing the general availability release of its Advanced Management Pack for SUSE Linux Enterprise for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2, available in the first half of 2009. A technical preview of the Advanced Management Pack was shown earlier this month at the Tech*Ed EMEA IT Professionals 2008 conference in Barcelona, Spain. The timing of the Advanced Management Pack coincides with the release of Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2, also slated for release in the first half of 2009. Microsoft and Novell's collaborative work in systems management aims to ease customers' management of mixed IT environments.

The Advanced Management Pack for SUSE Linux Enterprise for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 extends the cross-platform Linux monitoring capability of Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 and enables the assessment and management of Windows- and Linux-based servers from a single, unified console, eliminating the costs and complexities of having multiple management consoles. It also reduces training costs and optimizes staff resources, because individuals need to be trained on only one management tool. In addition, one team can manage both Windows and Linux environments.

The other new initiative the companies are announcing is the upcoming beta availability of Moonlight, an open source implementation of Microsoft Silverlight that provides Linux-based users with the same rich, high-definition media capabilities currently available for the Windows and Apple environments. Moonlight will be provided as an open source plug-in for the Firefox Web browser.

In the two years since signing their original business and technical collaboration agreement, Novell and Microsoft have continued to make significant investments in their relationship. Novell's Expanded Support program includes a three-year subscription to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server that also allows customers to transition to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server over a two-year period while receiving technical support for their existing Linux deployments. Based on its strong relationship with Novell, which is built on a commitment to meeting customer demand, Microsoft is supporting the new program through the sale of certificates for Novell technical support. As a result, even more customers will be able to access the benefits of interoperability and IP peace of mind provided through the Microsoft and Novell relationship.

Reseller distributors for the two companies are quick to point out the advantages of the Microsoft and Novell business model.

"The cooperation between Microsoft and Novell to deliver expanded support for SUSE Linux Enterprise users is a breath of fresh air," said Joe Szalkiewicz, western region vice president for The Pinnacle Group. "The ability to transition from other Linux deployments, including Red Hat, while redeeming subscription certificates purchased from Microsoft for Novell's Expanded Support, is remarkable -- something you can't get anywhere else. This is exactly what our customers have told us they are looking for to help make the transition from other forms of Linux to Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server."

Independent Television PLC (ITV), a public service network of British commercial television broadcasters, also was quick to express support for the new offering.

"At ITV we are increasingly standardizing on both Microsoft Windows Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as the key components of our enterprise server strategy," said Nick Leake, director of operations and infrastructure for ITV. "We did not want to get into a situation where we had a huge variety of different Linux distributions installed as we wanted to minimize our Linux operational risks and costs by standardizing on just one widely supported distribution. The Microsoft and Novell partnership agreement means we can now concentrate on Microsoft Windows Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server across our enterprise and have greater assurance that these platforms will be optimized to interoperate with each other, particularly in respect of virtualization. The additional intellectual property warranties provided by the agreement are a bonus and contribute to the effective positioning of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as an enterprise-class Linux distribution. The recent extension of the agreement shows this was not a one-off transaction but is part of a longer-term arrangement between both Microsoft and Novell. Long may it continue, as it is setting the new benchmark in the technology industry that other suppliers must now work to meet."

More information about the Microsoft and Novell agreement can be found at http://www.moreinterop.com.

About Novell

Novell, Inc. (Nasdaq: NOVL) delivers the best engineered, most interoperable Linux platform and a portfolio of integrated IT management software that helps customers around the world reduce cost, complexity and risk. With our infrastructure software and ecosystem of partnerships, Novell harmoniously integrates mixed IT environments, allowing people and technology to work as one. For more information, visit http://www.novell.com.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Novell and SUSE are registered trademarks of Novell Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.

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