Now there are two ways to read these Microsoft-Linux pacts. Duncan Riley at TechCrunch writes that Microsoft is creating an anybody-but-Red-Hat club to outflank the Linux bellwether.
If that’s Microsoft’s strategy against Red Hat it doesn’t seem to be working. The consensus seems to be that Microsoft isn’t denting Red Hat at all by inking pacts with lesser Linux providers. In a research note dated June 7, Jeffries analyst Katherine Egbert reports that Red Hat likely landed JP Morgan in the May quarter. Meanwhile, Novell customer wins at Wal-Mart (WMT), Home Depot (HD) and Bear Stearns (BSC) were largely because Red Hat held the line on pricing, says Egbert.
Several industry sources have indicated that Red Hat has opened talks with Microsoft re: patents. These talks are especially relevant in light of the recent, final release of GPLv3, which extends any two-party patent protection to all users of v3 licensed software (there is a grandfather clause that excludes the Novell-Microsoft agreement). Microsoft recently signed patent cross-license agreements with OSS provider Zimbra and with LG Electronics. While there has been only minor progress to date with Red Hat, we find the talks encouraging.