I almost choked on my morning coffee when I saw the headline last week that Novell and Microsoft announced a deal to make their software work together. As someone who once employed VMware to use Word on a machine running Linux OS, I have to say that I was both surprised and thrilled. And, as someone who closely followed the Microsoft antitrust cases in both the US and Europe, I was astounded. I wish I could call Judge Jackson right now and ask him why he thinks these two competitors who once looked to be arch enemies are now joining forces (Novell accused MS of antitrust violations and sued over WordPerfect). But of course Jackson didn’t think Microsoft had any competitors, so perhaps he wouldn’t really understand the question.
The fact that Microsoft and Novell are now teaming up to provide consumers with something they have been clamoring for (interoperability) is proof that the marketplace can deliver benefits to consumers without government help even if the two competitors have a bad history.