Someone needs to take charge at Novell

[shakes head in disbelief] Reported on /. and elsewhere. Way back when it was announced, Mr. Ballmer, head honcho of Microsoft demonstrated how much he p0wned Novell when he let loose with some beauties right after signing a deal with them.

Our comment at the time was

First: Novell agreed to something it thought was pretty reasonable, and it was construed or played and reported quite differently than they had interpreted it. Which means either Novell’s lawyers and execs are clueless, they were played, or they failed to consider the potential interpretations and ramifications of the deal and how people would react. Including the party they made the deal with. Which means that their marketing group was really clueless.

And today, we get a demonstration of how badly they were played, and continue to be played, and how clueless their marketing is.
From /., well, they didn’t link to the press release, but here it is.
I don’t want to Fisk this … really, I don’t.
Lets, oh, I dunno, cherry pick?
Start with the title.
HSBC Taps Microsoft-Novell Agreement to Reduce Linux Cost and Complexity
I want to make sure we are clear on this. Novell, yes, the makers of SuSE Linux, thought it wise to issue a press release on reducing Linux “Cost and Complexity”.
Surely they were glancing in the eastern seaboard direction of the US while saying this. Happily accepting and working with Microsoft word smiths on verbage and content.
Cost and complexity must reference something here. Its a cost of something, and the complexity of something.
Reading further, we see the golden quote:

Some will be surprised to learn that our Windows environment has a lower total cost of ownership than our current Linux environment.

One of the better arguments for Linux is that the opposite of this statement is the rule, and not the exception. The TCO for Linux is not only in the very low acquisition and support costs, but the fact that you don’t have to pay for CALs or other things like that.
Lets be absolutely clear on this.
Novell, a company that at least, in theory, promotes Linux, thought it was wise to issue a press release undercutting one of their own strongest arguments.
Think about it.
I won’t play armchair quarterback on this. Thats the board’s job. Hope they are listening. Someone is working awful hard in the marketing department of Novell to lose the business. Someone needs to step in, take charge, and clean house.
Of course, some of the points elicited a response from Novell.
Think about this. If your marketing department has to explain a press release to others, because of the “confusion” the press release created, precisely then, what was the value of the press release?