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.

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.

Staff have been shed, and the business is now down to two units, cobbled together from and spearheaded by the company's SuSE Linux and Groupware products respectively. But this operating system plus collaboration, virtualisation and identity tools product set is full of holes from an enterprise buyer's point of view: it's hard to see where the glue is that binds them into a coherent whole.

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.

I hope though that I'm still there when the runes are read. It'll be seen that Novell remained on its feet, still swinging at its nemesis, Microsoft, for years after everyone else thought the company should have died. Don't get me wrong: I'm delighted Novell is still out there, both for its still-healthy brand, its history, and for its staff and customers. But I wonder for how long and, more importantly, why.

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