• United States

Novell moves its official residence

Feb 10, 20043 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Novell is now a Waltham, Mass., company

Finally, the other shoe has dropped. Sometime between Jan. 20 and Feb. 2, Novell decided it was a Waltham, Mass.-based company rather than a Provo, Utah one. Well, Novell filed a form with the Securities and Exchange Commission but there was no formal announcement, just a subtle change on the Web site and in the dateline of press releases.

As the “Salt Lake Tribune” newspaper put it (

“For two decades, Provo has been synonymous with Novell, the administrative heart and birthplace for what would become a computer networking software giant.

No more. As of late Wednesday, the company quietly changed its official corporate headquarters to the Boston suburb of Waltham, Mass.”

Novell spokesman Bruce Lowery (whose name was listed as contact on that first press release from Waltham) stressed that it was simply making de jure what was already de facto (something we’ve been pointing out for quite a while now). Ironically, Lowery’s office is neither in Provo or Waltham – but in San Francisco. Thus it is with today’s international corporations.

It does make my job a bit easier and a bit harder – no longer can I take a cheap dig at the “erstwhile Provo, Utah networking company.” Still, it shouldn’t mean any big changes, at least in the short run. Few of Novell’s top execs have worked consistently in Provo since Bob Frankenberg was ousted as CEO back in 1996. Eric Schmidt, for example, went from vice president at Sun (in Mountain View, Calif.) to CEO at Novell and then on to CEO of Google (also in Mountain View) without ever having to move house. He simply flew to Provo as needed – for board meetings and the like.

Jack Messman has now eliminated even that trip (admittedly a much longer journey from Waltham to Utah than Schmidt’s journey from Mountain View) as board meetings can now be held in Massachusetts.

And really, that’s the biggest change we’ll see in the short run – few directors, senior vice presidents or other top execs wandering around the campus in Provo. There are lots of folks in Utah (especially engineers and product managers) who think of that as a “good thing” – no more execs peering over their shoulders, much less micro-management.

On the other hand, just as in a medieval kingdom, those who live near the headquarters and can hang around the throne room (such as the representatives of the Ximian and SilverStream acquisitions) will have much more influence than those out in the hinterlands of the Wasatch Front. It might be just one more nail in NetWare’s coffin (almost all of whose champions are in Utah), but we’ll keep a close eye on what’s happening and let you know if it looks bad for our favorite network operating system.