IBM should buy Novell now that the SCO lawsuit is finally over mostly to prevent Microsoft from buying Novell and acquiring the Unix System V copyrights. It is in IBM’s interest to buy Novell and also it is in the interest of the Open Source community that IBM buy’s Novell as well before Microsoft even thinks about it.
Another reason for IBM buying Novell would be to acquire SUSE Linux. IBM helped Novell buy SUSE Linux contributing 50 million dollars to the purchase and has been helping Novell sell SUSE. SUSE has the biggest market-share in the mainframe space and IBM still loves it’s mainframes.
Novell has a huge portfolio of products that would be beneficial to IBM’s existing datacenter products. I’m mostly think of Novell’s acquisition of Platespin. Those products would significantly add to IBM’s huge product portfolio.
I would forsee IBM unloading Zenworks and Groupwise or integrating Novell’s Zenworks and Groupwise into it’s Lotus business; infact I would imagine Novell’s brand replacing or supplementing Lotus.