Open Source Group Challenges Attachmate Bid for Novell

January 4, 2011 No Comments

Novell could remain a public company for a bit longer than first anticipated.

In November, privately held software vendor Attachmate announced its intention to acquire Novell (NASDAQ: NOVL) for $2.2 billion. Part of the Novell acquisition involves another deal with a group called CPTN Holdings, which is set to acquire 882 Novell patents for $450 million. The Attachmate deal closing is contingent on the closing of the CPTN patent sale, which is where the potential delay could arise.

Just before the end of the year, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) issued a request to the German government to investigate the Novell CPTN patent sale. The OSI is one of the leading bodies in the open source movement and is responsible for approving and maintaining the list of bona fide open source licenses that comply with the open source definition.

CPTN is made up of a group of vendors including Microsoft, EMC, Oracle and Apple.

“The fact that Microsoft was leading the takeover of Novell’s patents was itself alarming to the open source community, but when it was revealed that Microsoft had recruited Oracle, Apple and EMC to be co-owners of the patents, the OSI board felt compelled to request that competition authorities take a closer look at the proposed transaction,” OSI president Michael Tiemann wrote in a blog post.

Microsoft has long alleged that open source software potentially infringes on its intellectual property. Back in 2007, Microsoft entered into a multi-year agreement with Novell that included a patent covenant agreement intended to protect Novell’s Linux users.

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