Customers Strongly Endorse New Microsoft-Novell Deal

Just-released survey shows more than 90 percent favor vendor cooperation on interoperability.

12 December 2006

A survey of technology decision-makers shows very strong customer support for the recent agreement between Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc. designed to improve interoperability between Windows Server® and SUSE® Linux* Enterprise. Nearly all respondents agree with improving interoperability, having products that work well together, and having tools that make it easier to manage mixed Windows® and Linux environments. The survey, jointly commissioned by Novell and Microsoft, was conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates Inc., a respected independent market research firm.

“Microsoft and Novell entered into this agreement to make it easier for customers to deploy Windows Server and Linux together,” said Susan Heystee, vice president of Global Strategic Alliances at Novell. “The results of this independent research show the majority of approval numbers over 80 and 90 percent. These high numbers don’t surprise me because they match the very positive reception that we’ve gotten from customers. This survey supports our belief when we entered the agreement with Microsoft: Collaboration on behalf of the customer is a winning proposition for all parties involved.”

“This survey confirms for us what we’ve been hearing from customers all along. They want technology vendors to work together to promote interoperability and to stand behind the products they sell and service,” said Susan Hauser, general manager of customer advocacy at Microsoft. “Customers who have mixed-source environments want their platform providers to work better together to tackle the complexity and cost of integration. Through our work with Novell, we’re doing just that.”

Penn, Schoen & Berland conducted 201 interviews Nov. 17–20 with IT executives, managers or staff whose primary job is in a formalized IT department, or who perform IT functions in a non-IT department but who have significant technology purchasing authority. Organizations had to have at least 500 PCs to participate in the survey. The survey did not intentionally target, but did break out, results for respondents whose companies deploy both Microsoft® Windows and SUSE Linux from Novell, as well as Red Hat Linux. Among the key findings were these:

  • Ninety-five percent approve of the collaboration between Novell and Microsoft. Microsoft, Novell and customers all benefit from collaboration. More than 90 percent of respondents approve of the Microsoft and Novell collaboration, believing it will benefit IT customers and increase interoperability of IT systems.
  • Eighty-seven percent said that customers benefit if leading Linux distributors and Microsoft worked more closely with one another. Four out of five believe their organization would consider doing more business with Linux dealers if Linux providers establish an alliance with Microsoft.
  • Sixty-seven percent said they’re more likely to consider deploying SUSE Linux from Novell. The Microsoft-Novell collaboration increased customer consideration of SUSE Linux. More than two-thirds of all respondents, and 79 percent of respondents who currently use Red Hat, said the agreement was more likely to make them choose SUSE Linux for their data center.
  • Ninety-seven percent said they wanted platform providers to improve interoperability of their systems. Interoperability is the area where respondents want the most focus. Customers want their platform providers to work together to improve the interoperability of their systems and provide tools that make it easier for the end user to navigate both Linux and Windows environments.
  • Eighty-nine percent want technology companies to take responsibility for the intellectual property in the products they ship. Also, more than seven in 10 are more likely to deploy Linux with intellectual property rights, which would limit their corporation’s exposure to risk. These customers see it as the responsibility of their vendors to work out intellectual property issues before deploying services.

View the full survey results (pdf).


About Penn, Schoen and Berland

Founded in 1975, Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates (PSB) has been a WPP (LSE: WPP; NASDAQ: WPPGY) company since 2001. PSB is a strategic communications firm that specializes in research-based recommendations for its clients. PSB has conducted research studies for Microsoft over the past 8 years. PSB has offices in Seattle, New York, Washington, Denver, Los Angeles and London.

About the Microsoft and Novell Agreement

On Nov. 2, 2006, Novell and Microsoft announced a collaboration in which the companies agreed to jointly build, market and support a series of new solutions to improve interoperability, deliver powerful new virtualization capabilities, make Microsoft and Novell products work better together, and provide their customers with patent coverage for their respective products. More information on the agreement between Novell and Microsoft can be found at

About Novell

Novell, Inc. (Nasdaq: NOVL) delivers infrastructure software for the Open Enterprise. We are a leader in enterprise-wide operating systems based on Linux and open source and the security and systems management services required to operate mixed IT environments. We help our customers minimize cost, complexity and risk, allowing them to focus on innovation and growth. For more information, visit

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.

Microsoft, Windows Server and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
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