Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Novell Inc. (NOVL) announced Tuesday that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) have become their latest customer. Wal-Mart is expect to begin using Novell's SUSE Linux; Novell will provide support for the software. Microsoft further agreed to pay for and distribute certificates redeemable for SUSE support – Novell has so far received 35,000 three-year certificates. The two companies' collaboration on Linux and Windows started in November and consists of improving the interoperability of Windows and SUSE. Microsoft and Novell also agreed to provide patent coverage for each other's customers.
Wal-Mart Chief Technology Officer Nancy Stewart stated that she plans to use both Windows & Suse to better make use of hardware capacity. The machines will take advantage of virtualization software designed to allow the two operating systems to share computer resources. Wal-Mart also wants to use the dual operating systems in small stores it operates in Mexico, and South and Central America, Stewart said. The company expects the two operating systems to work flawlessly together, she said, referring to the promise of the agreement.