Microsoft has launched a channel offensive to tempt Novell's NetWare customers onto Windows Server 2003.
Working through its resellers, Microsoft will offer subsidies and incentives to businesses that make the switch.
The vendor has promised that NetWare customers will receive online training and unlimited technical support via newsgroups.
"These offerings are designed to address customer concerns and assist them in evaluating their options, through information, tools and Microsoft partner support, making migration easier and more cost-effective," said Martin Taylor, general manager of platform strategy at Microsoft.
Microsoft's offer also includes Windows Services for NetWare, a set of download tools for migration from NetWare to Windows Server 2003.
Peter Joseph, director of market relations at Novell EMEA, claimed the firm is unflustered by Microsoft's announcement.
"We aren't surprised. Novell has a strong channel and will continue to provide value and focus on users' needs," he said.
Joseph claimed that in the long term, migration to Windows Server 2003 could prove costly.
"There could be further costs when Microsoft ask customers to migrate over to Longhorn. Novell has announced a road map for a new offering [Open Enterprise Server], giving a strong migration path under Linux," he said.
Microsoft has also teamed up with Quest Software to make its NDS Migrator software available to users at a reduced rate. Enterprise customers with more than 1,000 users, for example, will receive a 20 per cent discount on the software.
Mike Lawrence, managing director of reseller Bentpenny, said Microsoft's latest strategy isn't radically different from its previous channel schemes.
"I can't imagine this is any different. It's just trying to crush the opposition," he said. "It won't make Novell's job any easier, but I can't imagine it doing anything to strike back at Microsoft."
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