geek4 sends in an analysis indicating that Microsoft may have the most to lose if hedge-fund operator Elliot buys Novell. (The eWeekEurope piece is based on a longer and geekier writeup by Andy Updegrove on how the mechanics of unsolicited tender offers can play out in the tech world.) To avoid meltdown or asset-stripping, Novell can try and find a preferred bidder — a company with some interest in running Novell as a business, and preferrably a tech company. Or another company may make a move independently. But who might that be? A couple of analysts have suggested IBM, Oracle, or SAP. These all have problems... Microsoft is in a similar category, with one added problem. ... Microsoft has staked any open source credibility that it has on Novell's SUSE distribution. If Novell falls to bits, then Microsoft's efforts to gain open source cred pretty much disappear with it. It's something that would have been impossible to imagine a few years back, but if we're looking for someone to prop Novell up, Microsoft would now be a prime candidate."