No suprises. Novell CEO Messman dragged out with boots on.

No suprises. Novell CEO Messman dragged out with boots on.

Summary: Reuters is reporting that two CxO's at Novell -- CEO Jack Messman and CFO Joseph Tibbetts -- have gotten the boot.  Or should I say dragged out with their boots on.


Reuters is reporting that two CxO's at Novell -- CEO Jack Messman and CFO Joseph Tibbetts -- have gotten the boot.  Or should I say dragged out with their boots on.  According to the brief:

Novell's board of directors elected Ronald Hovsepian as chief executive officer, the company said Thursday. The software company's board decided that CEO Jack Messman and Chief Financial Officer Joseph Tibbetts would leave Novell effective June 21...

The move comes as no suprise.  In a story he wrote last year (see Hovesepian now heir apparent at Novell),'s Stephen Shankland saw this day coming.  Wrote Shankland in November '05:

Ron Hovsepian, promoted to president and chief operating officer of Novell on Tuesday, is likely to replace Jack Messman as chief executive as well.....Hovsepian's promotion to president and COO, and now his stroll toward the CEO office, contrasts sharply with desires Messman expressed in a February interview with CNET Asked if he wanted to hire a new COO or to be replaced as CEO, Messman responded with a decisive "no"...."They're going to have to drag me out with my boots on. I love working for Novell. I helped create it more than 20 years ago," he said at the time. "I hope the board will support me"....But the board took a different approach when it directed Novell to change Hovsepian's severance agreement.

The board's signalling lack of confidence in Messman and Tibbetts is not a good sign.  But it wasn't a suprise either.  Novell's mindshare has been slipping into obscurity and is largely being propped up by its acquistion of SuSE Linux.  More recently, the company has been trying to will desktop Linux into the market. But aside from a few pockets of adoption, there has been no surge. Even worse, of the various distributions of Linux, Ubuntu is the one that's been getting the lion's share of the attention in the news and blogosphere as of late.  

Topic: Enterprise Software

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  • Obscurity

    What isn't apparent is that Novell's loses stem from their legacy products, not OSS and Linux!
    (This was pointed out by 'Linux Geek' in a separate ZDNet article [url=]thread[/url].)

    [b]Novell will prevail![/b]

    BTW, [url=]SLED [/url]is coming soon to your home/corporate neighborhood folks (June 30??)!

    Ok then. Thank you for trying and have a good day.
    D T Schmitz
  • About time for Novell to make a move

    Its about time that Novell starts to make a move back into the computer world. It seems for years when they owned the market on server software that they could never re-cover from Microsoft's NT, Win2k and 3k Products. Novell Has a very good product and the people on top just stopped supporting it because of the Boards greed. They drove it into the ground now its time with a new CEO to start showing why their product is much Better than Uncle Bill's. Lets See how many updates has anyone have from novell? Himm with my Novell I've seen one or two in Months. With Microsoft's server and desktop products how many updates has anyone seen? I see many almost now every other week or even day. Proves that Microsoft Programers don't do one thing and its called debugging. But think of this folks are not servers just Mainframes in Sheeps clothing? Yes you may have a desktop PC but we are reverting back to Mainframe land which last ruled the roost in the 1980's. Give them time but Uncle Bill and Microsoft will come out with a Microsoft Mainframe within the next 5 years. And Dumb terminals will not be far behind. So Novell Must make its move now in the market if they don't and wait to long then the writing is on the wall for them. Lets see if Novell can not make another mistake like they did when they bought Word perfect. Take a good product and then not support it.
    • Novell is like the rest

      No direction and big fat cat CEO's sitting aboard making millions and the workers getting replaced by offshoring and friendly H1B visa people...
      • The Bank won't last long

        With Novell who lost a huge share of the server Market I see the Bank will run out of Money if they want to get back into the Game. Microsoft has show cinks in their armor and I don't think Novell will sit on their butts any more. If they do then they deserve to be a foot note like Commodore computers and other companies who never took advantage of what they got.
  • Novell shake up

    As a Novell partner, our major concern is in their lack of marketint/advertising. When was the last time you saw a Novell commercial? Their products are all first rate but no one really knows it. Also they need to support their smb partners better too. If this doesn't change soon I am afraid that they may go down the tubes.
    <a href="">HOIAtl</a>
    • Maybe you didn't get this

      [url=]Let's Be Open[/url]

      I'll grant you that their marketing/advertising isn't as agressive as it should be!
      D T Schmitz
      • This proves the point

        The whole Lets Be Open marketing strategy is just a demonstration of how Novell's marketing has failed. I think Novell have some fabulous products that I love working with (when I get the opportunity) but you are pushing uphill if your marketing message is throw out Microsoft. Novell need to clean up their product portfolio and market the products (not their wishfull thinking) on their individual strenghts. Lets hope this signals a change for the better.
      • Re: Maybe you didn't get this

        I certainly didn't, and I doubt that very many other people got it either, unless they accidently browsed to that URL. The kind of advertising that Novell needed to do was on TV and major computer mags like ZDNet, PCWorld, etc... i.e., watering holes of the IT staff of major corporations.

        I work at a place which has been a Novell shop since Novell was first released. The IT head there has been patiently waiting for Novell to release its network stack built on top of Linux, with all the services and single point login. Novell has had three years to bolt NetWare into SUSE but has failed miserably. It looks like our IT head will have to wait longer. Probably much longer. Maybe till Hell freezes over. Unless he decides to move to a different distro and network.

        But Hovsepian? Here is a quote from him after he was hired as COO:
        <I>"What we're going to really try to do is position ourselves as the enterprise play in the marketplace. The way we accomplish that is by having the binary compatibles inside the server version all the way to the desktop, so no matter where the customer wants to use Linux, they're going to have one common code base."</I>
        This statement was made at the end of this March. Novell purchased SUSE three years ago, and Hovsepain's statement, if accurate, proves that under Messman Novell has done NOTHING with SUSE, except fire all the folks that created SUSE and understood it and Linux the best. Or, it proves that Hovsepian does not understand Networking, Linux or the GPL. Either situation spells trouble for Novell.

        Novell's problem was that Messman never believed in Linux and didn't know how to create a business model that encorporated software written under the GPL. A day late and a dollor short they began mimicking RedHat's Fedora development model. This may allow them to layoff some of their software developers and save some money, just like cutting your heart out will help you lose weight.

        Linux has made inroads into the server room because of SAMBA, which allows Windows desktops to connect to Linux servers. VISTA desktops will not allow such a connection. IF VISTA becomes widely adopted the Linux server marketshare will decline. For a variety of reasons I don't believe that VISTA will erode the existing Windows installed base for several years. But, between now and then the Linux community had better come up with a networking system with all the goodies, or Linux will evaporate in direct proportion to VISTA's success.
      • RE: No suprises. Novell CEO Messman dragged out with boots on.

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  • Problem started with Eric Schmidt

    When Mr. Eric Schmidt was Novell CEO he was advised to compete with Microsoft for network software business by offering free Netware to Universities. The Computer Science/Information Sciences students would learn and favor Netware and go on to recommend it to their employers. Mr. Schmidt ignored the advice. Microsoft didn't. You know the rest. So where do I think Google will be in 5 years? About where Novell is now.
  • Novell

    For years I've thought the Novell would be on the way out. Many of the industries I've consulted for have had numberous Novell installations, even in the face of UNIX/LINUX/WINDOWS. More recently, I think Novell has come up with some neat stuff... but the managment of the company has always been their biggest weakness... both strategically, and tactically.
    • I have to agree with that

      I used to work with what is now a Novell division and the top
      execs would come back and talk about how incompetency
      knows no limits at any level!!!

      I just don't think they have a great management team and this
      move certainly shows they are ready to respond to make change

      Maybe they should hire Celerant, their management consulting
      division, to rework their whole operational and market strategy!
  • I hope they sell Suse

    As much as they are screwing up I would like to see them continue the trend and sell Suse to a development team that can finish it and make the best linux ever. I wouldn't mind if they did it but they are way too slow.
  • Novell's other mishaps

    Novell has never got training right. One of the leading causes of market share collapse here in the US during the early to mid 1990's was that Novell Techies were too thin and corporate customer service was too expensive. They still today are missing the beat on training and books on Novell in book stores have been at an all time low for some time. Another was the delay in retiring, too late, the IPX/SPX Network Protocols and adapting IP -an incapatibility /integration problem that cost dearly when M.Soft started gaining market share and used these "deficiencies" as a marketing tool. Today it's a hard argument to switch back even though many of us "geeks" gone on as CTOs & CIOs or left completely know that Novell has the most stable and now with Open Source(Linux)integrated, the most scalable NOS. It will take a major paradigm shift in thought and process to bring back Novell as a "brand name" once again. In Europe, Novell seems to be making a significant comeback since security and flexibility there is treated with more priority than in the US and Novell offers that advantage hands down.
    I still believe Novell can turn around again because the dissention with Microsoft is alive and growing. With Microsoft taking on different fights (google, internet etc) Novell might just be able to slip back in. However, Novell must act with light speed and get some the best marketing gurus on the planet and then support a training program like none other. Then the new CEO must flush out some of the status quo who just don't get it and move forward with clear goals engaging steadfast persistence. I have other ideas to share that can set goals in motion, anyone interested?
  • 1,184 days, 16 hours, 25 minutes

    That is how long it has been since "Guy," one of my old Novell 4.11 servers has been booted. (And yes, it does actually get used.) Bulletproff reliabilty has been Novells' main strength since version 3.11.

    That and eDirectory (NDS to us old guys.)

    I want to cover a lot of ground, so please fogive the numbered paragraphs.

    1] Two years ago I was at Linux World on San Francisco. The guy from Red Hat was describing their brand new, super shiny, just invented, 1994 Novell NDS.

    So Novell, please tell me that when I install SUSE, my existing eDirectory is still usable. Please tell me that I will not have to type dozens of names in passwords into each of the SUSE servers.

    2] About a decade ago, there were "CNE Pro" evenings. Eric Schmidt made reference to Novells' "Stealth Marketing." Doesn't seem to have changed much.

    3] Training! Novell seemed to have some idea of what training and certification meant to business. What horrible execution!

    a. Two things lead Novell from a 66% market share to "barely surviving. One is that they got the idea that training was a profit center, not thier best advertising.

    b. Fourteen years ago when I went to CNE school, it was 3 hours a night, two nights a week for 4 months. Since then, every training center seems to think that cramming everything into a few days is the way to go. What a crock! What University teaches Cultual Antropology, Macro-Economics, Statistics, etc. in a single 5 day cram? What idiot came up with this one.

    c. $5,000 for a CNE? If SUSE was taught and certification was available at every Community College in the country, the Novell would still own the server market. What about University Extention? Here in downtown San Francisco, I was able to take "Oracle for Managers" from U.C. Berkely Extention for 600 bucks.

    4] The second thing that led to Novells' decline, was getting into a contest with Gates and Balmer over who could pee the farthest. Novell is not the only company that self destructed by doing this.

    5] What the hell do people have against IPX? Please explain why TCP/IP is superior? I mean this as a serious question. IPX always worked fine for me, and no one has ever been able to tell me what is so great about IP for a lan.

    All that I can see is that is was free with Unix, Unix was cheap to colleges, and the Defence Department paid for IP in the 1970's. It may be ideal for Internetworking, which it was designed for, but why the heck do I want it on an ethernet LAN?

    One of the smartest things Novell did, was to recommend that you run IPX on the LAN, IP on the WAN, and translate at a border firewall. You can graph Novells' decline to version 5 and "Native IP." A coincidence?

    6] Microsoft has a two day class in basic Win2003 installation. It costs $150. You get a copy of Windows 2003 Enterprise Server with 25 CALS. (Retail $4,000 last year. $3,000 this year.) All three members of our IT team took that class, and we go $12,000 worth of licenses out of the deal. Guess what my three newest servers run?

    7] There are only 500 companies in the "Fortune 500." (Duh!) There must be a million companies in the 25 to 100 employee range. Any company that says it is going to go after "Enterprise" accounts and forget the million small firms that built it, is asking, and deserving to go down the toilet.

    8] Dear Novell, in conclusion: You can get $500 bucks out of us, and out of a million other small businesses. But you are not going to get $10K out of us, and you attitude seems to be that if w e aren't big enough, we can go to hell. Microsoft on the other hand ...