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Apple, Microsoft, Oracle partner to acquire Novell patents for $450M - Page 2

post #41 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanVoyeur View Post

I think this about preventing these patents from being open sourced. $450 mil is a drop in the bucket for these companies - any one of them could have paid this sum many times over.

The smart, underdog move would have been for Redhat, Google or Ubuntu to buy the patents and immediately GPL them. Any of them could afford it and it would have completely changed the software landscape.

Ubuntu can't afford it. Red Hat is in the red and Google isn't a FOSS haven.
post #42 of 53
This is great news.
post #43 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

That's not exactly the story. MS was caught with Apple's patented QuickTime software in their Window's Media player. The work was done for MS by a second party company. Apple got wind of it and spoke to MS. In exchange for allowing MS to continue using it, a deal was struck. MS would agree to upgrade Office for the Mac for at least 5 years, and invest $150,000,000 in Apple, receiving non voting stock in exchange, and for Gates to do a live video appearance at the next Macworld, stating his, and Microsoft's confidence in Apple. The last portion was that Apple and MS would have a patent licensing deal where both could use a number of each other's patents in a number of areas, and not sue each other over patent issues.

Thank you for explaining this (yet again) to those that continuously harp on about that investment. It seems that myth will never die in the MS fan base.
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post #44 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Microsoft didn't pay off Apple's debt. Apple actually had about $1b cash on hand at the time. The idea that it was ever a "charity deal" only got started after the fact.

Apple made a $800 million loss in 1996 and $1 billion loss in 1997. One billion in cash wouldn't have lasted them long, but neither would a $150 million "bailout" from Microsoft. The largest contribution was probably the vote of confidence from Microsoft and the promise of Office and Internet Explorer.
post #45 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henriok View Post

Apple made a $800 million loss in 1996 and $1 billion loss in 1997. One billion in cash wouldn't have lasted them long, but neither would a $150 million "bailout" from Microsoft. The largest contribution was probably the vote of confidence from Microsoft and the promise of Office and Internet Explorer.

It was the restructuring of Apple. The excessive and directionless R&D. The acquisition of NEXT. The legal expense with Microsoft. The removal of 'leeching' third party mac manufacturers. The slimming down of Apples device range. And the return of Jobs which 'lost' Apple much of that cash but which also returned them to profit.

The largest vote of confidence was in the return of Jobs, the return of vision, a faultless long term strategy based round NEXT and at long last a replacement for OS8 which was showing it's age and zapping the confidence.


Microsoft's contribution (other than reduced legal expenses) was very little in the grand scheme of things. History became distorted by that stupid film Pirates of Silicon Valley.
post #46 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanVoyeur View Post

I think this about preventing these patents from being open sourced. $450 mil is a drop in the bucket for these companies - any one of them could have paid this sum many times over.

The smart, underdog move would have been for Redhat, Google or Ubuntu to buy the patents and immediately GPL them. Any of them could afford it and it would have completely changed the software landscape.

You don't GPL patents. GPL is a copyright license -- not a usage license.

The copyright on the content of all patents and patent applications belongs to the public domain by default, so there is no need for a GPL-type license to grant permission for anybody to duplicate or redistribute the text of the patents.

What matters to patents is permission to make use of the patented information to build a marketable product -- and that comes from a very different type of license.
post #47 of 53
I suppose the sensationalist storyline would be that these four have got together to get at Google. I'm not aware of any history between EMC and Google but the other 3 certainly have axes to grind.

However, it's more likely that some of these patents have already been in use for sometime by at least some, if not all, of the four. The logic then being to split the costs 4 ways and avoid being sued at some point in the future by patent trolls.

I'm curious to know what the patents are.
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post #48 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henriok View Post

Apple made a $800 million loss in 1996 and $1 billion loss in 1997. One billion in cash wouldn't have lasted them long, but neither would a $150 million "bailout" from Microsoft. The largest contribution was probably the vote of confidence from Microsoft and the promise of Office and Internet Explorer.

Fascinating. If only one had a crystal ball. I wouldn't be sitting here typing this. Actually i probably would
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post #49 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henriok View Post

Apple made a $800 million loss in 1996 and $1 billion loss in 1997. One billion in cash wouldn't have lasted them long, but neither would a $150 million "bailout" from Microsoft. The largest contribution was probably the vote of confidence from Microsoft and the promise of Office and Internet Explorer.

Sure, they were hemorrhaging money at the time, but as you say, the $150 million from Microsoft didn't make a significant difference in financial terms. (Though it's been suggested that more cash changed hands behind the scenes, it probably wasn't a huge sum.) The "vote of confidence" thing was a triumph of stagecraft, more smoke and mirrors than reality. I think Jobs deserves a lot more credit for engineering this than he gets or got. At the time, everyone was so used to the concept of Microsoft always winning that the deal was spun as just another instance, when in reality Apple got just what it needed -- a little breathing room and an opportunity to move forward. The rest is history.
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post #50 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

So what do these guys have in common?
They are all not Google.

For sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

Apple and Google might do well to go in on it together. Neither of them has the history to defend against licensing issues like Nokia's suit. It all comes down to Mutually Assured Destruction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Right now, there seems to be so much bad blood between them, that I wonder if it's possible.

Stranger things have happened. Technology, like politics, makes strange "co-opetition" bedfellows, so even granted that this new consortium is a pre-emptive move on Apple's Google front, nothing prevents Apple and Goog from their own joint venture.

Not holding my breath for this to happen, tho'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shapesNforms View Post

Microsoft has a very long history with working with Novell, especially on networking technologies and other things. No surprise that they are involved. All in all, a good example of how large tech companies can work together on a common goal...

MS also has a long history of sabotaging Novell and notably, some of its one time components, WordPerfect, Paradox and Quattro Pro (playing especially dirty pool with WordPerfect) - all of which Novell acquired and cobbled together into WordPefect Office (since sold to Corel at a big loss) when it attempted - and failed - to go head to head with MS in both OS's and Office suites.

Novell also acquired DR's DOS - which was the "good DOS" IBM was also interested in when it struck that fateful deal with Bill Gates - who in turn had to purchase his code from another small Seattle company. Myth has it that the DR DOS guy was out flying his plane when the IBM reps visited his company and they felt flipped off. On such small hinges turn great doors. We'd certainly be living in a different digital world today.

The costly attempt also drained Novell's resources and left it bereft of strategic directions. But it's also hard to say what a better strategy - other than selling itself to MS - or possibly Sun - when the handwriting was appearing on the wall - might have been in retrospect.

MS really only began to "play nice" with Novell once the company was nearing the life support stage, in my memory at least, but interoperability was also a wedge for MS into the remaining Netware sites. "Co-opetition" was a phrase I believe Gates coined to describe its early relationships with ISV's, projecting an image of partners marching together into the future all making big bucks. However, as the trail of corporate corpses, walking dead and goobled up bits of WordPerfect, Lotus, Ashton-Tate, Borland and so many others testifies, co-opetition with the owner of the dominant OS is at best a double-edged sword. And from the early days of PC software, only Adobe and Intuit are relatively major companies still standing on their own. (Some Apple ISV's have learned this too, e.g., Konquerer and the Watson-Sherlock fandango.)

Novell latched onto Unix and Suse in a last ditch attempt to re-invent itself, and migrate its own base to a more viable and extensible platform.

Which meant eventually essentially killing its own Netware OS to put everything on SUSE plumbing and try to play in the emerging GPL/Open Source market. Messy at their level and also for their remaining base. I don't follow them anymore tho', so don't know what Attachmate's doing with the assets it hasn't divested.

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post #51 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpics View Post

Which meant eventually essentially killing its own Netware OS to put everything on SUSE plumbing and try to play in the emerging GPL/Open Source market.

Novell lost it when they chickened out in the 90's and the week before Comdex failed to announce NDS for NT as a stand-alone product that didn't require Netware.

It sealed their doom. As soon as I heard they had backtracked on their expected announcement, I didn't upgrade my CNE for Netware 4 and instead started studying for my MCSE instead.

And we are still stuck with Active Directory which, even today, isn't half the directory service that Novell Directory Services (NDS) was in the 90's. Try to partition your AD forest and replicate only portions of it - it's ridiculous what people put up with....

Thanks for nothing Novel. Damn cowards....
post #52 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

Apple and Oracle I get. Steve and Larry are after all buddy buddy.. But MS, hell is slowly freezing over. I guess Apple and MS won't be suing each other over those patents..

You do realise that Microsoft is the biggest provider of software for the Mac after Apple themselves right?

Microsoft and Apple work very closely together, and are definitely not enemies on most levels. They have a common enemy however in Google, which brings them even closer.

The only people that this deal is bad for is the consumer because this deal will allow these companies to move forward but block others giving people less choice.
post #53 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Access to all those UNIX Patents, for one, will benefit OS X.

And when picking the Novell carcass, please tell me how they decide which company gets which patent?

I still believe that Microsoft wants to keep Apple from obtaining the patents to technologies that could potentially unseat M$ in the enterprise.

Some Novell technolgies are superior to what Apple can offer: NDS and Groupwise. Novell and Microsoft have an email server. Apple does not. Open Directory is a very primitive, barely usable version of Microsoft's Active Directory. Microsoft admins can use Ghost for disk imaging. What does Apple have for multi-casting disk images. Carbon Copy Cloner is nice, but it only copies one disk at a time. Xserves are gone without a replacement. Why is there no Mac in the server room?

When will Apple wake up and address the above issues?
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