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Wal-Mart Taps Microsoft, Novell For Linux Deployment

Wal-Mart said the Linux deployment will allow it to reduce IT costs by paving the way for a move to lower-cost, commodity servers without sacrificing performance.

Wal-Mart Stores said Wednesday that it has tapped Microsoft and Novell to provide open source Linux software for use in the mega-retailer's internal computing and Web site operations.

Under the agreement, financial terms of which were not disclosed, Microsoft and Novell will deliver Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server subscription certificates to Wal-Mart for data center use.

Wal-Mart technology officials say the plan is to use Linux as a platform on which to connect a number of various technology systems.

"We have wanted information technology vendors to deliver true interoperability and IP assurance between multiple platforms for some time now, and we are pleased that Microsoft and Novell are committed to fulfilling that need," said Wal-Mart chief technology officer Nancy Stewart, in a statement.

Wal-Mart said the Linux deployment will, among other things, allow it to reduce IT costs by paving the way for a move to lower-cost, commodity servers without sacrificing performance.

Microsoft and Novell, which acquired SUSE Linux in 2004, in November pledged to work together for the next five years to jointly build, market and support new solutions to improve system interoperability and create new virtualization tools. Microsoft also agreed to distribute and resell SUSE Linux subscriptions on behalf of Novell. To date, the partnership has sold more than 35,000 certificates for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

The deal shouldn't be too surprising: Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner is a former Wal-Mart CIO.

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