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Open-Xchange, a German open-source groupware company with long ties to SUSE Linux, is changing its top management team.

Rafael Laguna, who played a major role in merging SUSE with Novell, is now Open-Xchange’s president and CEO. And former SUSE CEO Richard Seibt is now OX’s chairman of the board. While at SUSE, Laguna and Seibt worked closely together and are widely credited for helping SUSE’s transformation into one of the world’s major Linux distributors.

At OX, Laguna plans to continue the business’s recent shift to SAAS (software-as-a-service). In a Linux-Watch interview, Laguna said, “With our SAAS strategy OX chose an indirect sales model by selling the software to Web site hosters, telcos and enterprise service providers. Among our customers are 1&1, the world’s largest Web hoster, and OVH and Hostpoint, the largest hosters of France and Switzerland, respectively.”

Laguna added that OX will not be competing with its partners. “These customers use OX to create services they sell to their customers. OX is not selling SAAS to end customers directly. We feel that [our partners] need software that enables them to sell higher-level services to their customers at better margins than the current commodity services. Ultimately [this is so that they will] be able to compete with Google [and] Microsoft, but also companies like [Research in Motion] and Apple that may be taking away their business slice by slice.

Read the full story on Old-School SUSE Executives Take Over Open-Xchange