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“Things Are Going Downhill at Novell These Days”

Summary: Novell deceives the press just as the company is imploding, as well as getting much smaller

NOVELL is falling apart as a company and as a brand. Quite symbolically (of Novell's bleeding to death), one person has just uploaded a video titled: "Novell Provo Campus Building H Water Leak"

The description of the video goes like this: "Things are going downhill at Novell these days. There was a massive water leak and huge amounts of damage done to the Lobby of Building H. Novell Provo Campus Lobby Water Leak"

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Novell's much bigger internal issues are actually a lot less visible than the above. Novell is currently trying to 'dress up' the real news about the management exodus that we covered last night. The press is catching up very quickly, but the company's press release [1, 2, 3, 4] tries hard to spin, spin, spin. That's what PR is all about: defensible omission, distraction, selectivity, and reasonable distortion.

“They announce the departure of many executives (as a bundle) and then treat such big departures as minor, describing the whole move as "reorg", which is a vague concept.”Novell's PR Director, Ian Bruce, completely ignores the departures and pretends that the decoy of "reorg" is all there is to talk about. This is an old trick devised also by Microsoft. They announce the departure of many executives (as a bundle) and then treat such big departures as minor, describing the whole move as "reorg", which is a vague concept. It is ambiguous as this can be interpreted as either bad news or good news. They sort of "package together" (or group) a lot of bad news that must reach shareholders and mix it with something that's positive or only seemingly positive in order to just bury the bad news and be done it.

Many news sites have fallen into this PR trap, which was set up by Novell's marketing/management people, no doubt. Those who were docile and gullible only/mostly spoke about "reorg", just as Novell had hoped. Examples:

1. Novell announce a reorganisation

2. Novell reorganizes business and management

3. Novell Corporate Restructure

4. Novell reorg aims at solution sales

In this reorganization, three current units—identity and security management (ISM); systems and resource management (SRM); and open platform solutions (OPS) will meld into one security, management and operating platforms business unit headed by senior vice president Jim Ebzery.


Well done, Novell. You lied to journalists and here they are rewriting your press release (more or less). It's a disgrace to both Novell and to the practice of professional journalism.

There are exceptions however. The very prominent (as in widely-syndicated) Associated Press came out with a more appropriate headline, but it leaves out major news about major departures. Apart from the raw article there were copies in news sites such as ABC, BusinessWeek, the Washington Post and the New York Times. Only one publication (as far as one can tell) has modified the Associated Press headline to add: "[Novell] says 2 executives to leave"

That's the main news. It is about Novell shrinking and losing key suits (managers). It is very bad news, it's not just a "reorg". To quote from another news source:

On an interim basis, Jeff Jaffe, who has served for the last four years as CTO and executive vice president of the business units, has agreed to report to Hovsepian as a strategic advisor. He will be leaving the company this February. Senior Vice President of Strategic Development Roger Levy will also be leaving Novell.


J.P. Morgan's response? "Change Does Not Always Make it Different" sums it up.

Manek, a British consultant who writes at ZDNet UK, has just published this short article about Novell. The headline says: "Whither Novell?"

It's hard to avoid the conclusion that Novell still doesn't know what it's for. Recent news that the company has once again re-organised itself, following a fairly abysmal set of financial results, smacks slightly of desperation.

[...]

What's depressing is that I seem to have been making the same or similar comments every few years about Novell, ever since the company went bonkers buying Unix, WordPerfect and a whole host of other bits and pieces as it looked to replace its failing NetWare business.


Boycott Novell is linked there among the comments, in relation to Mono. In other news this week, Miguel de Icaza is still looking appease Microsoft. Perhaps that's all Novell has left, namely fusion with Microsoft.

"Now [Novell is] little better than a branch of Microsoft"

--LinuxToday Managing Editor



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