Novell is forever being dogged by stories of its declining fortunes, as it gets lost in the shadow of Microsoft, with which it once competed as an equal.
So when the networking company’s annual user conference, Brainshare, is staged (it was in March, in Utah, Novell’s home), reporting often centres on how it plans to stage its next comeback.
This time it’s web services: exploiting its eDirectory as the core platform for web services development is the aim of newly installed Novell vice chairman Chris Stone.
Auckland Novell user Craig Harrison, a member of Novell Users International, says Stone generated a great deal of interest among Brainshare attendees, of whom he was one.
“Chris Stone seems quite aggressive on the marketing side of the company, which is what Novell needs,” Harrison says.
Harrison says there’s a definite change occurring in the company as its acquisition of Cambridge Technologies beds in. “It’s changing from being a product company to a solutions company.”
Evidence of that can be seen in the addition of a project management paper to the company’s master certified Novell engineeer (MCNE) qualification, he says.
Harrison says web technologies are beginning to pervade the Novell product range. The latest example of that is iFolder, which synchronises files on a mobile user’s system with the office server via the internet.
Novell’s Stone says the company’s web services effort centres on Net Services, “a basic form” of the burgeoning technology. “Our challenge and our opportunity is to put the pieces together and dominate pieces of this marketplace,” Stone told Brainshare attendees.
To get to there, Novell plans to fully embrace XML and other open standards across its products.
The company’s financial fortunes have been positive this year. In its first quarter it had net income of $US8.3 million on revenue of $US271, compared with revenue of $US245 million in the same quarter a year ago and a net loss of $US7.7 million.
But it expects revenue in the quarter ending April 30 to be between $US255 million and $US265 million, roughly breaking even.