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02.23.08

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part III: Novell’s Roots Move On, Return to Headlines

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Steve Ballmer at 4:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell’s more glorious days continue to have it mentioned in all sorts of stories and announcements. New examples include:

Metallect

An old Novell acquisition returns to light with the appointment of a new CEO at Metallect.

Auger has more than 15 years of experience with enterprise software startups. Prior to joining Metallect, he was part of the founding management team at SilverStream Software, where he served first in quality assurance, later as vice president of research and development and ultimately as vice president of product management and marketing for identity management and SOA when Novell acquired the company.

Google’s Schmidt and Novell

Novell gets mentioned in Google articles for two main reasons: (1) Google’s CEO is a former leader of Novell; and (2) Microsoft tries to use tricks against Google, some of which are similar to the ones it used against Novell. Here is a new analysis from Seeking Alpha:

To make this fight even more exciting, remember that Google CEO Eric Schmidt was once the Chief Technology Officer at Sun and became the CEO of Novell (NOVL) in 1997.

In both cases, he was stopped cold in his tracks by Microsoft’s shenanigans to keep open solutions from happening. It killed Java’s potential as described above, and it killed Novell’s NetWare by making many of its features standard parts of the dominant Windows OS. From Wikipedia’s Novell entry:

By 1999 Novell had lost its dominant market position, and was continually being out-marketed by Microsoft, which gained access to corporate data centres by bypassing technical staff and selling directly to corporate executives. Microsoft worked to make NetWare look second place with Windows 2000 features such as Group Policy.

Does anybody doubt Mr. Schmidt’s desire to see Microsoft’s monopolistic grip on computing broken?

Regarding Mr. Schmidt, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in an incident a couple of years ago, “I’m going to bury that guy. I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to kill Google. . . . Google’s not a real company. It’s a house of cards.” Note that I paraphrased. To see the decidedly more graphic original, click here.

WordPerfect’s Blast from the Past

Consider this another post mortem involving a Novell product.

But other companies have fallen into that very trap of overintegration, sometimes with disastrous results. Consider software maker Novell Inc’s $855 million acquisition of Word-Perfect Corp—a leader in word-processing applications—in 1994. The marriage was intended to create a tough competitor to Microsoft. Novell sought to fully assimilate WordPerfect’s different product and services lines, sales group, culture and business model. But this backfired, sparking culture clashes that diverted Novell’s focus and led to key product launches falling behind schedule.

This is what the Var Guy called Novell 2.0 the other day.

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