Novell users seek answers following $2.2B sale to Attachmate

Customers mostly in the dark about the future of Novell's products following company's sale to Attachmate, Microsoft-led consortium

The complex $2.2 billion sale of Novell Inc. and its copyrights to Attachmate Corp. and a consortium led by Microsoft Corp. has left users wondering about the future of the combined company's product lines, and about Microsoft's still-unclear role in the transaction.

Bob Schaber, network operations manager for the Dublin, Ohio, city government, said his biggest questions about the deal focus on which Novell products Attachmate will continue developing and what its long-term plans for those products will be.

The city government runs Novell's Open Enterprise Server and its Teaming and Conferencing applications.

"We're really comfortable with their product lines and how well they work," Schaber said. "As long as they keep developing them the way they have in the past, we will keep using them."

Schaber added that he also wants to know the implications of Microsoft's involvement in the acquisition. Novell and Attachmate said that CPTN Holdings LLC, a consortium of as-yet unidentified technology companies organized by Microsoft, is paying $450 million for 882 Novell patents as part of the acquisition.

Microsoft acknowledged its role in the deal but declined to offer more than a vague statement from Horacio Gutierrez, the software vendor's deputy general counsel.

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