Microsoft has announced that they would be open to more deals which are similar in nature to the one that they just signed with Novell. Microsoft's agreement with Novell concerns a number of business and technological agreements to make their products work together to serve corporate customers. As part of this, Novell confirmed that Microsoft would make up-front payments to it of $348 million under the deal. Microsoft claims that they would be happy to sign this kind of deal with anyone who distributes Linux, especially Red Hat.

What is all of this about? Well, Steve Ballmer (Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft since January 2000) believes that Microsoft will have to change its business model in order to continue to prosper.

"The next frontier for us is to embrace a new business model. And if we embrace it well and that business model is subscription and advertising, where we will be a market leader. If we do not embrace it well there will be issues."
This is all a bit of a change of tune for Microsoft, who in the past have made their perception of Linux as being of dubious enterprise worthiness quite clear. Their website has, in the past, carried articles rubbishing open source solutions in general. Now, suddenly, Linux seems to be of paramount importance to them. Could this be related to Oracle's recent move to get into supporting Red Hat Enterprise Linux customers? Oracle already appears poised to release their own Linux distribution, could the unthinkable happen and Microsoft will do the same?