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How did Novell do in 2003?

Jan 06, 20043 mins
Enterprise Applications

* In 2003, Novell dived deeper into open source, sustained a marketing effort

I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season, but now that the New Year is upon us it’s time for some New Year’s Resolutions. Not for me, I hasten to add, but for Novell. Time for the company to vow to try harder and do better in 2004.

Before setting some resolutions for the coming year, though, let’s look back at the ones I proposed 12 months ago and see how well they were carried out. In gazing into the crystal ball for 2003, I suggested that Novell concentrate on three things:

1. A sustained marketing effort targeting enterprise decision makers and promoting the entire company.

2. Stability is important. 2002 was about new management and acquisitions, 2003 should be about fully integrating all of the company so that everyone is reading off the same page. A minor acquisition or two simply to acquire a needed bit of technology should be OK (provided you actually do use the technology), but there shouldn’t be anything major.

3. Continue to support the open source community. Apache and Tomcat on NetWare have been far more successful than all of the other Web servers Novell has tried. There’s plenty more in the tools category than can be adopted to the NetWare platform – and plenty of Novell utilities that can be released as open source.

Two out of three ain’t bad.

The major marketing campaign launched in late January (with a few glitches) still continues. That’s the best effort at sustained marketing Novell’s ever put forward.

On the acquisitions front, though, Messmann and Stone acted more like teenagers with an unlimited credit card than the conservative managers I was talking about. Ximian and SuSE are not “minor” acquisitions. Still, it may work out for the best since these acquisitions do fuel continued activity on the open source front. There are still quite a few people looking at Novell to release as open source some of the earlier DOS-based utility programs from NetWare, but not much movement in that direction on the company’s part. That could still be worked on.

For network managers, I didn’t propose new resolutions for 2003, but simply suggested you try harder to implement those from 2002:

1) Get more involved with your enterprise’s business.

2) Stop thinking of Microsoft as “the Evil Empire.”

3) Get out of the office and spend more time with your friends and family.

I’ve no way of knowing whether you acted on these resolutions, so for those of you still putting it off, start working on these three right now. Next issue, I’ll propose some new resolutions for Novell in 2004 – hurry back.