Customers in dark as Marshal goes to Texas

NetIQ's announcement last week that it is to close its Auckland Marshal Content Security Solutions development unit may have been foreshadowed to staff, but some customers appear to have had no prior warning.

NetIQ’s announcement last week that it is to close its Auckland Marshal Content Security Solutions development unit may have been foreshadowed to staff, but some customers appear to have had no prior warning.

NetIQ human resources executive Terry Dyckman flew to Auckland last week to tell staff of the email and web content scanning software developer the bad news in person.

Dyckman told Computerworld that “we obviously took a long runway to tell people that while we’re closing the facility — we announced it three months ahead of that time”.

But Brian Bernon, IT manager at law firm Chapman Tripp, says the company had received no official notification about the closure.

“It’s a shame that a New Zealand development shop has been purchased and closed down.”

Hamilton City Council IT manager Basil Wood was also unaware of the closure, but was unconcerned about the consequences for the council, which uses Mail Marshal and Web Marshal.

“I’d imagine support will be provided by other sources.”

San Jose-based NetIQ bought Marshal Software for $US23 million in December 2002 and renamed it Marshal Content Security Solutions.

Staff weren’t guaranteed they would retain their jobs indefinitely but were offered the chance to buy NetIQ stock and given benefits such as health insurance.

In May some staff were made redundant, following moves by Marshal to relocate some processing functions to Europe and the US.

The closure is effective from June 30 and will result in the loss of 25 jobs, though some staff may be offered new positions within NetIQ.

The good news for staff is that some could be quickly offered jobs elsewhere.

Richard Jowsey, head of spam and virus filter provider Death2Spam, says ex-Marshal staff may be sought by Death2Spam, but any such move depends on the outcome of discussions with investors looking to inject capital into Death2Spam.

“We’re not looking to run in there and snap them all up, but it would be silly of us to ignore a pool of local talent that specialises in an area where we have a global market.”

Green Party IT spokesman Nandor Tanczos called the closure “a sad portent for small innovative New Zealand software companies”.

NetIQ’s second quarter results were 20% down on revenue compared with the previous quarter, but the company blames the result on the terms of its licensing agreement with Microsoft.

With the licensing adjustment removed revenue is up 11%, the company claims, and revenue from its systems and security product division, of which Marshal is a part, were ahead of expectations.

NetIQ’s Dyckman says the decision to shut down the New Zealand operation was a strategic one.

“[It] was made to consolidate, to co-locate all development on this suite of products in one place [because of its importance to the company].”

All security development will be migrated to NetIQ’s development centre in Houston, Texas.

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