Novell bought by Attachmate

Consortium backed by Microsoft to acquire various intellectual property assets

Although many anticipated that VMware would purchase Novell, it is being acquired by Attachmate.

Not familiar with Attachmate? They bought NetIQ in 2006. NetIQ was popular earlier this decade for their AppManager product. They also - briefly - owned a product they acquired with the purchase in 2000 of Mission Critical Software, known as Operations Manager. AppManager, a systems and applications management offering, at that time was considered a more established and valuable product than AppManager. Rather than confuse their customer with two somewhat similar offerings, NetIQ decided to license the technology used in Operations Manager to Microsoft. That led to Microsoft Operations Manager 2000, a product now in its third release by Microsoft.

AppManager is still around as a product, even if NetIQ is no longer independent. In 2009, AppManager for VMware received the Virtualization Review Readers' Choice Award, as well as being a winner in the Redmond Magazine Reader's Choice Awards. However, Attachmate is not generally known for innovation, and its product line consists of software picked up by acquisitions and mergers.

What does the Attachmate purchase mean for Novell? Although Novell is being sold to Attachmate, CPTN Holdings is acquiring "certain intellectual property assets." CPTN is a consortium backed by Microsoft. While it is currently unclear what those assets are, Novell holds over 460 patents, the copyrights to early versions of UNIX, and other intellectual property.

One may surmise that Microsoft's involvement had something to do with preventing Novell from ending up in the hands of VMware. In addition, back in 2006 Novell and Microsoft signed a five-year agreement dealing with cross-platform software compatibility. Given that will expire shortly, perhaps Microsoft decided the best thing to do at this point was to buy a bunch of Novell's assets. Time will tell, but others are surmising the move doesn't look good for Novell or open source.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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