Interview: Novell's Schuster on life after Bob

With boss Bob Frankenberg's departure last week fresh in mind, Novell is at a watershed. PCDN spoke to UK managing director Tom Schuster about the resignation, future plans, and what effects on the UK the management traffic will have.

PCDN: Were you expecting the announcement of Frankenberg's departure?

No, the news has been a complete surprise but it has been well received. I haven't heard any negative views at all.

A high-level departure like this must always be upsetting to a company though?

In the software industry we have become accustomed to change. Novell is in a very stable position and has a very good foundation to grow. The task ahead is the execution on cross-platform networking.

Have you been disappointed with Novell's lack of progress over the just more than two years of Frankenberg's reign?

I wouldn't say that. We have got very good market share and have kept it at a very high level - NetWare has about 70 per cent share in the UK. The task ahead is to hold that and expand into new areas. I think we have a very powerful Internet and intra-net strategy. We are the only supplier of a full solution that is intra-net and simultaneously Internet; the only one supplying network management, directories, security and scalability in one package. We also have an extremely good Web Server, Internet Portal and very good firewall with 100 per cent security. We've got the product deliverable today. We're putting Web access into every single product at every single level, and have a commitment to having it everywhere within one year. We're also leading the Java programme. Some people may have a better story but nobody is more committed to interdependence.

A lot of people have said that Frankenberg's failure was an inability to deliver products on time. Is that fair?

We have had a lot of products on time. We've shipped NetWare 4, NetWare 4.11, GroupWise 4.1 and just brought out GroupWise 5.0. Last year we sold about three million GroupWise seats; that's more than the Lotus Notes installed base... If you put Notes head to head with GroupWise, GroupWise is a much better E-mail and workflow product.

Yet Frankenberg lacked the ability to convince people of Novell's positioning

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