Could Red Hat be backpedaling on their earlier choice to stay out of agreements with Microsoft. Their more than once repeated decision to turn Microsoft down has been met with much fanfare, and has been cited as an example of companies succeeding without "protection" from Redmond.

Despite their earlier enthusiasm and apparent distaste for patent protection agreements, now CEO of Red Hat Matthew Szulik has admitted to being in discussions with Microsoft. While this certainly isn't an admission of guilt, it does make a lot of questions arise. It doesn't help that certain statements made by Red Hat seem ambiguous at best, and could be paving the road for future partnerships:

Announcing first-quarter results Szulik tactfully told analysts: "We continue to invite the opportunity to participate with Microsoft around standards in improving the customer experience of operating successfully in heterogeneous environments."
As the largest Linux vendor in the world currently, they are in a position to influence many, many other companies. What they choose to do may impact the market as a whole for a long time come. It doesn't help that Red Hat has teamed with Microsoft in the past with JBoss.

Hopefully, they will stick to their guns - and not cave to Microsoft's strongarming. Teaming up with MS certainly hasn't seemed to help Novell one bit.