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The price of success

Apr 22, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMarketing

* Success doesn't come cheap for Novell customers

File this issue under “the other shoe has dropped,” or maybe “still clueless in Cambridge.” We all know Novell’s abysmal record in marketing and so it was with a great deal of anticipation that we looked forward to the new marketing campaign that got under way in late January. And I, at least, wasn’t disappointed. And just last week I told you about the new “giveaway” version of NetWare Small Business Suite Version 6. Alas, it may have been too good to be true.

What is true is that anyone can get a Server+5 user license for SBS 6 by contracting with an authorized reseller to do the installation. As I said last week, if you can get the install done for less than $1,000 then you’ll be on the plus side of the balance statement.

It’s also true that you can add users with the 1-, 5- and 25-user add-on packs, just as you’ve always been able to do with the SBS product.

What I didn’t mention – because I didn’t know about it at the time – was that moving beyond that first 5-user license can be very pricey. You see, to get to that 6th user you need to buy an “extender” pack. This will add five additional licenses, but will also cost you the same as buying the original “Server+5” off-the-shelf – about $1,200.

If you want six to nine users, then, you’re better off buying the Server+5 for $1,200 and adding up to four users at $70 each, especially if you can do the installation yourself. But even the customers that Novell is supposedly going after – small medical practices, law offices, retailers, etc. – are going to object strongly, I think, to having to pay over $200/user for users number 6 through 10. Especially since users 1-5 were, essentially, free. And users 11-15 (if they grow that far) would be approximately $60 each.

Novell, what were you thinking?

Giving away the software platform while providing business to the consultants and partners was a great idea – it seeds the marketplace, gives business to the people who need it the most (in these troubled economic times) and provides a win-win for everyone. To then turn around and punish the end-user simply because they like the network, use it to improve their business and add another employee is, well, beyond comprehension. Just when the customers are most pleased you slap them in the face and penalize them for being successful – a success that you should be able to take some of the credit for.

To paraphrase that good marketing campaign Novell launched earlier this year ( – “ERP: sound made by the small businessman when he gets the bill for adding a sixth user.”