US Report: Novell targeting ISPs

Novell will attempt to build on its current Novell Directory Services (NDS) momentum next year by launching a targeted "Operating Red Spread" campaign aimed at Internet Service Providers.

Novell executives spilled some details about the forthcoming campaign during a financial analyst conference call Wednesday, which followed the company's release of its fourth-quarter financial results. Novell topped Wall Street estimates of 9 cents per share with results of 12 cents per share and revenues of $298 m (£180m).

Red Spread will consist of a number of "specialised business programs" aimed at penetrating the growing Internet market via ISPs and other business partners, Novell officials told analysts. Novell cemented some ISP deals earlier this year, but Red Spread will step up the company's ISP orientation substantially, executives claimed. "We'll call on the ISPs, which have been traditionally Unix shops," Novell CEO Eric Schmidt told analysts. "In my previous job [as Sun Microsystems Inc. chief technology officer], I sold these [ISP] customers. I know them very well."

The Red Spread effort will involve new NDS licensing deals such as those inked recently by Cisco, Nortel and Lucent. The campaign will also cover the growing number of NetWare "add-ons" that Novell is preparing. Schmidt hinted at some of these add-ons due out in 1999, including clustering, manageability and some kind of NDS add-on that would make Novell's directory "even faster and more scalable than our existing directory," in Schmidt's words.

Red Spread also may encompass some evolving Novell products such as a "specialised kernel built on a standardised platform," Schmidt told analysts. An "Internet appliance" product that currently is in beta test, which is likely to be bundled into the turnkey NetWare platform, will also be a Red Spread focal point, Schmidt said. He did not elaborate on either of these projects, but Novell's research division has been working on an Internet-appliance user interface called NetTop for some time.

In the nearer term, Schmidt told analysts that Novell had "just shipped" its NDS For NT 2.0 product, which has been in beta since early Sept. He also said a new version of Border Manager FastCache is due to ship next week. And the company is on track to deliver a port of NDS for Unix before the end of this calendar year, he told analysts.


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