Novell in the black... just

Novell Inc. has righted itself, at least for now, turning in a first-quarter profit of $0.04 per share, about $0.02 above analysts expectations.

The Provo, Utah, company reported that sales for the quarter ended Jan. 31 were $252 million, down from $374.8 million the year before.

"It is gratifying to me that at the six-month mark following our restructuring, we are seeing the effectiveness of our new management controls and priorities," CEO Eric Schmidt said in a release.

The company reduced operating expenses $45 million from a year ago to $192 million, and added $12 million to its cash levels, bringing that total to $1.05 billion.

All was not rosy, however. Novell reported that revenues fell below fourth-quarter levels due to weakness in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for 9 percent of total sales. The United States makes up the bulk of Novell's revenue, pulling in 57 percent of sales.