VMware CEO just ruled out Novell’s acquisition? – UPDATED

A little more than one month ago the New York Post reported about a soon-to-be-closed two-part sale deal reached by Novell and two undisclosed buyers. Immediately after, the Wall Street Journal reported that VMware was one of the bidders, interested in the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) business unit. 
According to the first report, such deal was expected to finalize within 3-4 weeks, which means right now. Meanwhile, Reuters added color to the story, reporting that the acquisition couldn’t complete as soon as planned because none of the bidders wanted the NetWare asset at the price that Novell’s board of directors wanted to sell.

True or not, the whole virtualization industry is holding its breath to see if VMware will end up owning an operating system and, with it, a complete software stack, from the hypervisor to the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications.
Well, apparently, it won’t happen.

The Israeli publication Globes, in fact, yesterday published an exclusive interview with VMware’s CEO Paul Maritz. It’s full of interesting comments, like one about his current employees compared to his former ones at Microsoft:

They are the same people – very smart and passionate, who don’t always have their feet on the ground like they should. But I enjoy working with these people.

The best part is where he admits that VMware evaluated to acquire (or develop from scratch) the operating system layer:

…the acquisition of a company in the business of operating systems or that developing one was once on VMware’s agenda. “We considered doing it in all kinds of ways, but we always returned to the main issue – that’s not where the innovation will be. It’s therefore better for us to focus our capabilities where there will be real innovation,” says Maritz.

Maritz is clearly referring to Novell, and his wording seems to clarify that VMware won’t acquire (a part of) them.

Update: In a today’s article the New York Post reports that VMware “s still in exclusive talks to buy Novell’s division that develops and delivers Linux systems”.