January 22, 2007 9:01 PM PST

Wal-Mart eyes Microsoft for Web build-out

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Microsoft makes Linux pact with Novell

November 2, 2006
Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores is contracting with Microsoft and Novell--Microsoft's preferred Linux partner--to build out the company's Web operations, according to a Wal-Mart executive.

On Tuesday, Microsoft and Novell are expected to announce that Wal-Mart is the latest customer to purchase both Microsoft software and support certificates for Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server.

In an interview arranged by both companies, Wal-Mart's senior vice president and chief technology officer, Nancy Stewart, provided some details on the project involving Wal-Mart, Microsoft and Novell.

Stewart said Wal-Mart is in the midst of expanding its Web presence globally. The partnership between Microsoft and Novell, announced last November, provides "a fine support structure" for the project, she said.

Wal-Mart, currently a Red Hat Linux customer, intends to use Windows Server and Suse Linux Enterprise Server in the expansion, she said.

"That's our direction. That's where we're going, but if we hit a roadblock and we can't go forward, it's up to Microsoft and Novell to figure out what to do about it," she said.

With the partnership, Microsoft is seeking to make Novell its preferred Linux provider and to have both companies' products work well together. Microsoft offers coupons for Suse Enterprise Linux support services as well as legal indemnification for customers who use both Microsoft and Novell's Linux, which is open-source.

Wal-Mart, a global retailing giant with $315 billion in annual revenue, is already a Microsoft customer, and Stewart said the multiyear relationship has been "outstanding."

She said the intellectual property protections in the Novell deal give Wal-Mart more confidence in using Linux more broadly.

Questions over intellectual property are a "huge problem," Stewart said. The company now uses Linux in the data center of its current Web presence but had some trepidation with the idea of expanding it a much larger operation.

"To think about using it pervasively, we were very concerned about it," she said. The larger Web operation would have "significantly higher legal exposure."

See more CNET content tagged:
Novell Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., build-out, SuSE Linux Enterprise Server, enterprise server

9 comments

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Should bring down the might of WAL-MART
Along with the Ford Motor Company
They should experience many CRASHES!
Posted by Sniche (108 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Shouldn't the title say Novell and Microsoft?
The article specifically says that both companies are doing this,
not just MS. And from what the article continues to say, it
appears that Linux has been and will continue to be the server
side of their Web sites (I'm assuming Apache, which would make
sense).

After I read the article, I thought the title was pretty misleading
(in other words.. Wrong) and a major slight to Novell, since it
would seem that is the whole reason MS would be involved in
this decision in the first place (because of the their joint
licensing agreement).
Posted by bicparker (77 comments )
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Wal-Mart and the Novell-Microsoft Deal
We look for the negative in a story like this, but maybe it's an example of the customer getting the best of both worlds.
Posted by AlexGra (2 comments )
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Walmart Cowards
Walmart should convert everything over to Red Hat. Or maybe buy MS. M$ is all smoke and mirrors. How can M$ sue over patents when they stole everyone elses. Look at Vista a ms knock off of OS X. groklaw.com ms litigation.
Posted by hutchnate (1 comment )
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Can anyone read?
This is like the scene in White Men Can Jump where they argue over "you can listen to Jimmy but you can't hear Jimmy".

Wal-Mart has been and continues to be a multi-year customer of Microsoft. They have, up to this point, only used Linux in a limited manner but will expand that. Shockingly, as in most enterprises, its a mixed environment and will continue to be.

As for the completely dead and beaten horse of "Microsoft steals everything", get a clue. They all steal from each other and regularly. Microsoft's MTS was so heavily copied, the offending developers didn't even bother to change many of the method and variable names. Give it a rest already.
Posted by AUTigerFan (3 comments )
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Oh and another thing...
since both are involved, they are listed alphabetically for purposes of titling. While everyone whines and complains, I don't see anyone raising the "poor Red Hat" banner and charging to their defense. Why not bash both Microsoft and Novell for causing them to lose business? Meanies...
Posted by AUTigerFan (3 comments )
Link Flag
Now lets get on the shelf
Chalk one up for Novell. Sometimes all it takes is to get your foot in the door.
I would like to see Novell and some of their so-called partners like HP and IBM get Some PC's on the shelves @ Walmart with Suse pre-installed. That would be real progress for the Linux Desktop Movement.
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