As I considered writing yet another post on that deal I got to wondering about what Novell has that Microsoft want. The answer came in a Xen like moment -- "Server Consolidation and Virtualisation". Novell have invested heavily in the Xen OSS hypervisor product and can do some impressive things with it. Of course all of this is Open Source so the technology can be customised for any solution required. On the appropriate Intel or AMD hardware Xen should be able to run Windows and Linux unmodified. This gives Microsoft a powerful weapon when selling into the server market in large accounts "Look Ms Customer, we can support all your server needs on commodity hardware -- you can now deal with a single vendor, Microsoft". Remember that the Novell deal also covers System Management Services -- I suspect that will be extended to cover not just Linux, but process management on Xen. For Novell that will be simple.