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Novell Explains Their Math

Matthew Aslett has posted an update to his Dear Novell posting of the other day, in which he openly questioned the manner in which Novell has presented their earnings data. Basically, Aslett had much confusion (as did many of us) over the various categorizations of Linux revenue used by Novell over the past years:
Since it completed the acquisition of SUSE Linux in early 2004, Novell has reported the following Linux-related revenue:
3Q04
$12m "SUSE Linux business"
4Q04
$12m "SUSE Linux business"
1Q05
$15m "SUSE Linux business" (including $7m "SUSE Linux Enterprise Server")
2Q05
$8m "SUSE Linux Enterprise Server"
3Q05
$44m "Linux-related product revenue" (Including $31m Open Enterprise Server and $8m "SUSE Linux Enterprise Server")
4Q05
$61m "Linux platform revenue" (including $46m Open Enterprise Server and $15m "other Linux product and services")
1Q06
$56m "Open Platform Solutions" (including $43m Open Enterprise Server and $13m "Linux Platform Products and other open source products"
2Q06
$57m "Open Platform Solutions" (including $38m Open Enterprise Server and $10m "Linux Platform Products"
3Q06
$12m "Linux Platform Products"
4Q06
$13m "Linux Platform Products"

Novell apparently contacted Aslett, and was able to point him to the "decoder ring" that helped make sense of their math, in which it was questioned: How can $13m be 32% more than $15m?

So, according to Novell:

"Linux Platform Products as reported in FY 2006 are SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. Linux products and services as reported in FY2005 included SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, SUSE Linux Professional, Novell Linux Desktop, ZENworks Linux Management (Red Carpet), and Technical Support Services related to Linux. Linux Platform Products went from $9.2892 million in Q4 FY2005 to $13.017 million in Q$ FY2006, hence the 32% increase."

The article goes on to break out from the previous quarters a comparable set of figures to those provided recently, by applying the same "Linux Platform Products" definition to prior announcements, Aslett actually paints a positive picture for Novell's Linux revenue:

With the Linux Platform Products categorization, it's now possible to get a better idea of Novell's Linux revenue performance, and it's a picture of slow improvement:
Q105
$8.5m
Q205
$8.6m
Q305
$8.9m
Q405
$9.3m
Q106
$10.4m
Q206
$10.3m
Q306
$11.6m
Q406
$13.0m

It's heading in the right direction, but it's not exactly setting the world alight, and with Linux revenue only accounting for 5.3% of Novell's total revenue in the fourth quarter (4.7% for the fiscal year) it is not fast enough growth to offset the demise of Novell's NetWare business.

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