Novell on the rise?

by Steve Anglin

According to CNET contributor Ben Heskett, there may be "A fresh vision for Novell?" This, after the recent hiring of Vice Chairman Chris Stone, will pan out in terms of a new strategy gambit, one that involves Java.

While Novell's NetWare 6 continues some of its success, it's losing market share to others and the continued growth of the Web services as the Internet/intranet truly evolves into the next generation networking operating system, a theme at O'Reilly's upcoming Emerging Technologies Conference in May. Novell's other product and focus of late is eDirectory, their entry into Web services, involving directory lookup and discovery. However, that strategy hasn't been fruitful by any means despite much investment.

By now, you would have thought that IBM, who has used/is using Novell for marketing their WebSphere application server would have acquired Novell by now. I think some IBM executives still sit on Novell's board of directors.

Anyway, "Stone's initial moves are likely to be related to his roots as a champion of developers. He once led the Object Management Group, which created CORBA, or the Common Object Request Broker Architecture, a programming architecture that ties disparate software and computers together. Now he wants Novell to quickly adopt the Java 2 Enterprise Edition architecture and related Web services technology standards, such as XML (Extensible Markup Language) and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), so that programmers can more easily write software that runs on Novell technology, particularly eDirectory."

It looks like Novell could very well rise again with this strategy. To do this realistically, Novell will either acquire already existing Java Web app server and IDE technologies and tools or merge with another market-share ailing company that already has existing technologies and tools. For the first scenario, look for Novell to possibly work out an acquisitions or licensing deal with Sun's former iPlanet division (or what's left of it). Forte for Java and/or the iPlanet Web server tools may be available for sale or licensing based on what I hear from anonymous sources in the industry. For the second, struggling Allaire/Macromedia could be a possible merger target for Novell. Novell has the brand and eDirectory to go with Allaire's JRun Web app server suite, etc. Of course, there are other possible targets as well.

From one or the other, Novell could put together a rather complete Web Services Application suite of tools for the marketplace to likely compete with BEA, IBM, etc. One problem though, time is not on Novell's side. IBM could still acquire Novell in a hostile manner. Such an acquisition would eliminate another competitor from IBM's worries. We'll see. Chris, I wish you luck.

I don't envy Chris Stone's task. What do you think of his chances? Share your thoughts here.


2002-11-28 11:38:50
Novell fate...
Big fan on Novell products. I am a CNE, MCSE, PCLP and CCNP. If IBM were to take over Novell, I would be affraid that Novell would not do much better than Lotus did after its take over...

If IBM takes over it would most likely be the final nail in the Novell Coffin.

If I would to suggest a Novell takeover, it should be CISCO. Lets face it, CISCO currently relies on RADIUS for user authentication of services like PIX-Firewall, etc. If they bought Novell, the could use E-Directory and DIRXML (as per Gartner Group).

Cisco not being much of a software player would hopefully provide little interference with Novell, but would give them the much needed Marketing Capital.

If Novell had more marketing power the value of its products would be made public.

Most consulting firms push Microsoft solutions. From a sales perspective it makes sense. A Microsoft server required 10 times more support hours than a Novell server. A technical person (as opposed to sales) would gladly move to Novell knowing this info. But no one Knows...

So if Novell is to be taken over, please let it be Cisco. And the logo could be NC or CN (NC aka Network Computer or CN aka Canonical Name). Or better yet make it a merger of Intel and Cisco that purchases Novell making NIC. OK so I like to dream...