Microsoft and Novell, in a joint statement, said they are focused on "converting unsupported Linux users to supported SUSE Linux Enterprise."
Microsoft said the partnership has already yielded customers in China. The People's Insurance Company of China Group, the Dairy Farm Company, and Dawning Information Industry have all agreed to purchase certificates for three years of SUSE Linux service and support.
Microsoft first announced its partnership with Novell in 2006. The companies say their aim is to make Windows and Linux more interoperable.
Criticisms aside, it seems to be in everyone's best interest to get Chinese business users to get in the habit of paying for licenced software. It's doubtful that this initiative will result in a sea-change in Chinese software usage patterns though.