Microsoft and Novell have announced a collaboration on Windows and Linux interoperability in a move that came straight out of left field for most of us.

The two software companies have announced a set of agreements to build, market, and support a series of new solutions to make Novell and Microsoft products work better together. The agreements also mean that customers will have patent coverage for their respective products, and can happily run software from both on the same system.

Microsoft will recommend SUSE Linux Enterprise from Novell for customers who want Windows and Linux products, and will distribute coupons for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server maintenance and support.

The biggest impact of the agreement for the consumer is that Microsoft and Novell will work on bettering interoperability for office productivity software, so that OpenOffice and Microsoft Office users will be able to share documents more easily and seamlessly.