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Novell Flirts with New Lows

Posted in Finance, Google, Novell at 11:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Market cap nearly falls below $1 billion and stock (NOVL) at risk of tumbling below $3

WHETHER OR NOT this is related to the pact with Microsoft is a separate issue that will be discussed later.

Novell at 3 dollars

Novell at Google Trends

There is nothing impressive about the above and most of the market outpaces Novell, which lose over half of its value in a matter of months.

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  1. aeshna23 said,

    March 2, 2009 at 3:10 pm


    Now, if it would only down by another 70%, it could be delisted from NASDAQ. When it’s finally delisted, Roy needs to decorate the website in festive colors for the day!

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 2, 2009 at 3:37 pm


    Novell was almost delisted on a couple of occasions before and after the Microsoft deal which kept it afloat.


  3. JohnD said,

    March 2, 2009 at 7:05 pm


    And what about all the other people who will lose their jobs?
    Have any of this site’s supporters thought about that?
    There’s a big difference between trying to get a company to change how it does business, and trying to help it fail.
    In this current economic crisis do we need to have another company fail?
    I’m not a fan of the Novell/MS deal and I’m not happy about the EOL of Netware I’m a CNE 5&6 and have always supported Netware and still do.
    I’m using SLES and SLED where ever I can to save myself and clients money. I think Novell has done more to make Linux really usable than anyone else to date. They are putting things back into the community. Nor do I see Novell threatening lawsuits for IP infringement. How about directing this site at MS who has done far more to foul up the IT industry than anyone else in history?

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 2, 2009 at 7:42 pm


    The posts here criticise Microsoft as well.

    As for Novell, it is just a shell. You can’t assume that if a company goes down, so will the people. They will find another job. To revere corporations that simply conspire against our rights for a quick buck is a risky thing to do.

    The same goes for Microsoft employees by the way.

    Let’s remember that Microsoft is not a person, it’s a company. Just over 100 years ago when such corporations were created there was a huge uprise of protests (primarily from what was considered Conservatives at the time) who called it “communism”. Corporations were to be treated as though they were human entities with rights and they were run — quite plainly speaking — as unaccountable private tyrannies.

    Intel’s vicious attacks on OLPC go as far back as 2006 (‘baby steps’ era). It was a horrid symbolic act of this troubling status quo where corporations even sabotage or exploit non-profit charities. Their goals is one: increase profits to please investors (never mind environment, human factors, ethics and so on). Companies such as Intel were explicitly told that once in a while they must perform PR (Bernays’ new term for “propaganda” post WW2) to the cameras, or else “the people will know what we are up to.” (not exact quote, but a famous one nonetheless).

    It’s important to distinguish between people and companies. People can swap companies and they usually care about their paycheck more than they care about the trademark/brand name. If people who were to lose their job at Microsoft could realise that it’s a zero-sum game, wherein Microsoft’s loss is someone else’s gain and better distribution of wealth ensues, then they would soon seize the opportunity and create their own companies, potentially to gain at Microsoft’s expense based on merits that serve consumers, not merely ‘choice’ that’s imposed upon them.

    So, this is not an attack on individuals but rather against a ‘shell’ that has a criminal past (Microsoft). Its ruthless, ferocious management disregards very basic rules. People will be redistributed differently in the workforce, that’s all. They may even help restore ethics and freedom now that the collusions between the media and software industries weaken. The conglomerates too are crumbling and those gaining are mostly on the Internet (Creative Commons too is a winner). We’re essentially escaping neo-Feudalism that’s being attempted at a digital level.

    Linus put it nicely when he said that Microsoft’s demise will just be a side effect of Linux’ success. Microsoft’s demise is merely a symptom of the success of GNU/Linux. Just watch what GNU/Linux did to Windows margins in sub-notebooks.

    Novell is encouraged to help GNU/Linux, not Microsoft. At the moment, it does more of the latter. It’s not doing anything to defend our freedom; it helps peers who take it away.

    Update: I see that Novell eventually dropped further.

    Novell falls

  5. aeshna23 said,

    March 2, 2009 at 8:07 pm


    “JohnD said,

    March 2, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    And what about all the other people who will lose their jobs?
    Have any of this site’s supporters thought about that?”

    We live in a world characterized by change. And some jobs become obsolete, because we no longer need them. It’s a wonderful thing! People get to find new jobs, and we get consume new, better products. I have no more sympathy for the Novell workers than I had for disappearance of the coopers and buggy whip producers.

    And it’s not just that change is good for the consumer. It’s also good for the workers. Without labor mobility and the ability to change jobs, we’d all be little better than serfs in a feudal hierarchy.

    The obstacle to a better world is in fact that snivelling whiners about “jobs”. Just witness Obama’s economy destroying “stimulus” package.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 2, 2009 at 8:16 pm


    The obstacle to a better world is in fact that snivelling whiners about “jobs”. Just witness Obama’s economy destroying “stimulus” package.

    Only an hour ago I did a quick post about this “stimulus”.

  7. Diamond Wakizashi said,

    March 2, 2009 at 8:22 pm


    The stock is still too expensive considering the quality of the company.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 2, 2009 at 8:28 pm


    Just like Microsoft, they have had a lot of buybacks going. They artificially inflated the price of the stock.

  9. aeshna23 said,

    March 2, 2009 at 9:22 pm


    Roy, I don’t understand how you have time to post so much, but I’m really grateful for your efforts.

  10. JohnD said,

    March 3, 2009 at 10:53 am


    I’m not sure I see much difference between people who take a hard core FOSS stance and people who support MS/proprietary software. Each side views the situation as a war and anything remotely associated with the other side is deemed evil. Between both sides is an ocean of compromise that no one wants to admit is there.
    You vilify Novell for trying to bridge the gap between FOSS and proprietary. Novell made a choice about how to use Suse – a choice you don’t agree with so now they must perish in your war against the evilness of proprietary software. You claim the Mono must be avoided because it’s simply a road that leads back to MS. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. What I can say is that from a business (as opposed to philosophical) view – it makes a world of good sense. They are trying to leverage coding skill sets that already exist in many corporations. This lowers the barrier to adoption within companies. They don’t have to spend money to retrain people or hire new ones, they can reuse the time and money they have already spent. In theory – you’ve just made the platform the program will run on irrelevant. Now an IT manager can go to his/her boss and say look we can save money if we use FOSS instead of MS. We lose the license fees and IDE fees etc and we keep the same staff. That’s a good business approach. Most companies will not make a wholesale switch in computing platforms unless there’s a significant money savings and the loss of productivity and compatibility is non-existent.
    Novell is seeking compromise. They are trying to reinvent themselves using new and relevant technology – which is what you claim people must do to survive and prosper. Yet it violates your belief system, so the compromise can’t be tolerated.
    Everyone views the Novell/MS deal as a mistake by Novell that will allow MS to screw over the FOSS community. Has anyone considered that the deal may have been the biggest mistake MS ever made? Let’s face it there are some companies who are looking at using Linux simply because MS appears to be supporting it and they don’t have to worry about being sued. I think this has given Linux and FOSS a foothold into corporate American that they would have never had otherwise.
    If you want to win this war, you should focus your energy on how to use the deal to make MS irrelevant, not to chop down Novell. Use your enemy’s energy against himself.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 3, 2009 at 11:03 am


    The issues are more complicated than you were led to believe. I’ll try to put together a post that explains this.

  12. Bogdan Bivolaru said,

    March 3, 2009 at 10:03 pm


    For my part, I think M$ will let Novell go bankrupt and then M$ will buy (parts of) Novell. Microsoft already distributes coupons for SUSE Linux, it may not be far the day they are distributing SUSE packages.
    Perhaps it will take a year, but that’s where I see SUSE going, as I don’t see anyone else in the Linux market rescuing the SUSE operation. Sun I don’t think either.

  13. Jose_X said,

    March 3, 2009 at 11:28 pm


    JohnD, what I hear from Novell is how superior MSware is, MS this is, and MS that is. Novell is an extension of MS. I don’t really see them competing with Microsoft. Microsoft is paying their lunch. Novell is an extension of MS.

    Novell should feel free to go and compete with Microsoft ripping dotnet share away from them.. as far as I’m concerned, but they don’t seem interested in tackling the biggest chunk of the market as long as Microsoft pays their bills.

    Instead, they are working on the small slice, trying to get new people into the “dotnet” fold. Bad Novell. That helps Microsoft (who has huge investments in it and controls dotnet’s future and patents). Bad from where I sit.

    I think almost all users would agree that FOSS licensing is superior. Users don’t want to be locked in. Sure, there will always be some lock-in, but Novell is working on helping to eliminate FOSS as a viable choice for users so that users would have little choice but to go proprietary if they want “good” software.

    As long as (a) software patents have traction or are a real threat, (b) Microsoft’s monopolies are extremely threatened by Linux, and (c) Microsoft doesn’t lay down their patent arms and offer to protect FOSS from trolls, we should avoid putting Microsoft created technology into Linux. See http://boycottnovell.com/2009/02/04/the-api-trap-part-1/

    To me the roadblock to Linux is clear, and how best to run over that roadblock most effectively is also clear. We improve Linux. We sell it’s value, it’s customizability, and all it’s strengths. We sell Linux. We focus on Linux and not on a mixed bag of tricks. We explain that MSware is a dead end when it comes to control and leverage by the users.

    There will be people for some time into the future to work the ending life cycle of legacy MSware. MSware is ready for the legacy drawer. Keep in mind, we are talking about an aggressive multi-platform monopolist and not any old proprietary vendor. The key to user leverage is to solidly break the Microsoft monopolies.

    What you suggest is that proprietary mix in with FOSS in such a way so that proprietary have large advantages You may like that, but I don’t. There is no need for that unless we are foolish and allow Linux+FOSS to be poisoned. Users don’t need to shoot themselves in the foot.

    I’m not foolish. I’m aware your pov intentionally does not represent primarily the best interests of the end user but represents the developer (or business person) that wants to make a bundle by creating significant artificial scarcities and encumberances. I am against that. That doesn’t move society forward as effectively (and it’s not as interesting for developers, for users, or for business competitors). There are always plenty of things to be created. There are many models that are plenty rewarding without having the monopoly bonanzas. There will always be various forms of lock-in and levers, but Microsoft’s extreme is past due.

    You also make a serious mistake (assuming it was accidental) in equating those that want the greatest levers for end users and small developers as being just as bad as those that want the worst levers for end users and small developers. Most people are end users, not software developers. “Hard core” FOSS advocates are on the side representing the interests of the greatest number of people.

    IMO, if push came to shove, it’s better by far to code with full flexibility and access doing something you really find interesting and useful and give away your software, than it is being unable to access much of the software around you and being straight-jacketed. I say this as a developer that values good software environments and that is not being fooled by the serious levers and greed of the Microsoft corp.

    In practice, vendors will leverage proprietary, but Microsoft is no ordinary proprietary vendor. They have too many levers and only know how to play the monopoly game http://boycottnovell.com/2009/02/08/microsoft-evilness-galore/ . When you play in their sandbox, they deceive left and right, and it’s their way or the highway.

    FOSS near “hard core” supporters like myself want competition and developer and end user freedom.

    Is it bad to really really really be against monopoly control of important platforms, to really really really be against Microsoft and their ways?

  14. Dan O'Brian said,

    March 4, 2009 at 9:21 am


    When you say “We improve Linux”, what you really mean is that the FLOSS developers (which does NOT include you, but DOES include Novell) improve Linux.

    JohnD is 100% right.

  15. JohnD said,

    March 4, 2009 at 12:25 pm


    What I support is choice for both the end user and the developer. If I take the time to write a kick butt piece of software I should be able to retain rights to it – not be forced to give it away. There have been posts here that seem to support capitalism – letting competition choose which companies survive or fail along with the workers in those companies – yet that support disappears when it comes to the actual software. Your ideology requires that software be given away freely – that’s closer to communism than capitalism. I’m not slamming communism it’s a great theory, it just fails in practice not because of any flaws, but because of human nature. When people work hard they want to be rewarded which is why capitalism works so well for us. FOSS has it virtues. Making a project open can pull in more supporters and provide different view points that will make a project better in the long run. What’s missing is the carrot. I am a developer at heart and I will probably code just for the fun of it the rest of my life, but I also need to feed my family. I can’t afford to spend the numerous hours/weeks/months coding a project without some kind of financial gain at the end. My personal feeling is that if someone buys my software they should get access to all the code – that’s the way JDEdwards did things. I think that’s a fair compromise.
    I don’t think that extremes in either direction are practical or beneficial for anyone.
    You claim to value choice, yet when someone’s choice violates your ideology – they can’t be tolerated. Novell bought Suse and made choices about how they think it can be improved. This site shows how many people disagree with Novell’s choices and also shows that they feel Novell should be punished for not following the “will of the community”. Once you require someone to follow a certain set of rules or guidelines – you have removed choice.
    This site isn’t simply a listing of things that Roy thinks are mistakes, its a wholesale bashing site. People are delighting in Novell’s falling stock price or any other negative press. Roy claimed to be “encouraging” Novell to do the right thing. I have yet to find a post that I would consider encouraging. Everything seems to be focused upon analyzing Novell’s actions and how they will lead to the demise of the FOSS community. It’s easy to sit back and find the negative in things – if that’s all you’re looking for. The posts I’ve seen so far portray Mono as an “intrusion” of MS into the FOSS community. I prefer to look at mono as “subversion” of MS tech into something useful for FOSS. In my opinion in one fell swoop Novell gave .Net developers the option to become FOSS developers. That’s giving developers a choice. Companies that spent oodles of dollars developing .NET apps on a Windows platform now have the option of switching to a lower cost alternative – that’s choice.
    I’ve been using SLED and openSuse as my primary platform for over 2 years now and I realize that I still don’t know half of what I need to know about Linux. I also know that I can’t sell it as a platform to my clients. I know what they need and how they think and they will not accept Linux as a platform at this time. They dont’ want to hear about kernel versions or package dependencies – they want things to work. I was trying to get one client to consider moving to OO or Symphony in order to save money. That idea went out the window once their clients started sending them Excel files in docx. Telling my client they will be able to open them in 6 months is not an option. I need a product that I know will work and work with things that already exist. I think AD sucks rocks, but it’s already installed at most of my clients. I need Linux to be able to work with AD in order start moving people to Linux. A work around that’s 90% effective won’t fly.
    Many have tried to stand and fight the good fight and lost to MS. Netware, OS/2, Netscape, etc. All rendered obsolete not by better software, but by underhanded business practices. Those practices may be the primary reason MS became a monopoly, but it isn’t the only one. They made it easy to develop programs for their OS. Novell knows that if Linux is to succeed in the business space – they will need developers and applications.

    Personally I think your time and energy would be better spent trying to effect legal reform so that the software industry moves towards copyrights instead of patents. I would also suggest starting a fund to help out Tomtom and possibly force MS to finally reveal which of it’s patents Linux “infringes” upon.

  16. Gentoo User said,

    March 4, 2009 at 3:02 pm


    You’ll notice that the “OMG Novell is dying” posts are made on dates when the overall market also happens to be crashing. He adds pithy comments like “underperforms the market”, which if actually true would mean he can write up these attack pieces any day of the week. Remarkably, that’s not the case.

  17. Tracy Reed said,

    March 4, 2009 at 8:55 pm


    Companies like Novell do need to die. It would be better for the economy. The reason why can be explained by the parable of the broken window:


  18. Dan O'Brian said,

    March 5, 2009 at 7:59 am


    I don’t think you understand what you’re talking about.

    The parable of the broken window does not explain why Novell should die, sorry.

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