Why not? Microsoft says it is buying more SUSE subscription. Any reasonable businessman, let alone GOOD businessman like Steve Balmer, will see that being a sale agent for Novell is not a good long term strategy, especially when you are sitting on a pile of cash that you do not know what to do with it.
If Microsoft initial flirting with SuSE Linux is to test the market where Microsoft has to coexists with its arch rival Linux, then this additional purchase will be confirmation that this market exists. Right now it is not big enough for Microsoft to jump in with both feets. Certainly if it is earning money for Novell, having it as a Microsoft subsidiary is better than throwing all these money down the other big holes, also known as non-Operating System, non-MS Office ventures?
If it does, it can shore up its claims that other Linux distributions, especially those that matters, infringe on its Intellectual Proprety. This claim is of course no more true and no less false than it is today. It is, however, a logical step from claiming that buying Novell will cure your potential IP wows with Microsoft. If any, if the agreement is not renewed, the longer SuSE is developed post 2012, i.e., after the pack ended, the more likely SuSE will infringe on Microsoft IP. If Novell is a Microsoft subsidiary, it is always cured from this “curse”.
People had been calling for Microsoft to distribute Linux. This will answer the call.