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If the End is Near for the Traditional OS, Why Would VMware Buy Novell?

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, VMware could be in talks to purchase part of Novell as the company reportedly is looking to be split up and sold in two separate pieces.  Earlier this year, Novell said it was exploring a sale of the company after rejecting a $2 billion takeover offer from investment fund Elliott Associates.

The WSJ reports that Attachmate Corp, a private equity backed software company, could end up buying one piece of Novell - assets including the network operating system, NetWare - while VMware might acquire Novell's SUSE Linux operating system business. 

What's interesting about this move is that VMware's CEO, Paul Maritz, has been vocal (again at VMworld 2010) about the end being near for the traditional OS.  But I guess that was before the company might actually own its own traditional OS.  :)

The acquisition could give VMware the full stack of enterprise software that they have been looking for to ultimately compete head on with the likes of other companies such as Microsoft.  VMware would have its own virtualization platform, its own cloud technology, a collaboration and email platform, an open source development framework from which to build more cloud ready applications, and now a traditional operating system.  And let's not forget about the Platespin or ZENwork assets!

VMware and Novell just recently closed a deal to allow VMware to OEM SLES and distribute it as part of VMware vSphere 4.1 and to make the Linux distribution the platform of choice for all of the company's packaged virtual appliances.  And if Microsoft had a problem with this cozy little arrangement, what are they going to think about VMware acquiring the whole bag of marbles? 

On another note, if VMware does buy SUSE from Novell, it will also create a new major, direct competitor to Red Hat as well.  Red Hat has already been challenging VMware for the growing cloud computing market, leveraging its own Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution and KVM virtualization technology.  But this announcement could really stick it to Red Hat.

So many people to anger and upset, so little time.  This will be interesting to follow.

Published Thursday, September 16, 2010 6:18 PM by David Marshall
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