Dell Joins Microsoft, Novell in Linux Project

Dell Inc. is backing the Windows-Linux partnership set up by Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc. As part of the deal, Dell will buy Suse Linux Enterprise Server certificates from Microsoft for corporate customers that are not already using Linux, the computer maker said Monday.

Last November, Microsoft and Novell agreed to jointly develop and market products that allow Windows and Linux to work together more smoothly. As part of the deal, Microsoft also agreed to indemnify Novell Suse Linux Enterprise users from patent claims. Dell is the first hardware vendor to join the alliance, and hopes to tap customer demand for interoperability between Windows and Linux, the company said in a statement.

Dell cited enthusiasm for the Microsoft-Novell deal among users as a key factor in its decision.

Under terms of the agreement, Dell established a customer marketing team for Suse Linux Enterprise to target "Linux users who are not Dell Linux customers," the statement said. That qualification is key: Dell already offers a competing version of Linux from Red Hat Inc. to corporate customers, and existing customers will presumably be targeted by the new marketing effort.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

This is not the first time these companies have teamed up. Dell has existing, but separate, partnerships with both Novell and Microsoft.

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