Open Software Initiative Submitted Complaint About Novell/CPTN Patent Deal with German Antitrust Authority ("Bundeskartellamt")
The Open Software Initiative (OSI) is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to "educate about
and advocate for the benefits of open source" that is particularly concerned about 822 Novell patents
that are confirmed to be sold to CPTN Holdings LLC for $450 million in cash, in the course of Novell's merger into Seattle-based software
company Attachmate Corporation (see press release).
CPTN Holdings LLC, which has first been described as a "consortium organized by
Microsoft", turned out to be a joint venture of the four software heavyweights Microsoft, Apple, EMC, and Oracle from a "notified merger project" (Ref no. B5-148/10 of
06.12.2010; product market: "patents") announced by the German "Bundeskartellamt" (Federal
Cartel Office, FCO), as reported on FOSS
Like every patent issue involving names like Microsoft, Apple, or Oracle, also this deal receives much attention from the IT community. For
instance, John Paczkowski of the All
Things Digital blog found it
"intriguing" and CPTN an "unusual alliance", while speculating that the - up to now undisclosed - patents relate to networking,
virtualization and data center technologies. Apparently, a source inside one of the four companies told him that "it was essentially an
alliance of convenience" and "it’s cheap defensive insurance".
As to the deal itself, Glyn Moody, an influential technology journalist and Linux/open
source advocate, analysed that "if the
sale itself is no surprise, the buyer is", since "many had expected VMware to pick up the company" and
referred to Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols unproven speculations that Microsoft might play a role not only in the
patent part of that deal:
The last thing Microsoft wanted was for VMware [...] to have a major operating system to offer to its customers. [...] Instead Microsoft
used Attachmate as a proxy to take Novell off the operating system chess board as an independent Linux company ...