Linux is open Source, the code is out there for anyone to see. There is no need for Microsoft to ally with someone in Linux to gain that information, nor do they need Novell's engineers to assist them in making a new kernel if thats what they choose. The NT Kernel was originally written by one man, coincidentally so was Linux's, and then heavily modified over the years to meet the needs of new technology. I guess what I'm saying is that with all the resources Microsoft has, they wouldn't need Novell. They also could not make a new Kernel based off of Linux kernel source without giving back all their changes, and I just don't see that happening.
One interesting thing I'd like to note is that there was a steady amount of updates for SLED 10 up until 2 weeks ago, now nothing. I wonder why that is?