Novell will partner with Netscape to form a separate privately held company that will blend Netscape's SuiteSpot servers with Novell's IntranetWare platform.
Joining forces with what is arguably the Internet's most well-known vendor and hiring Internet visionary Eric Schmidt as its chief executive officer should go a long way toward helping Novell shed its image as an Internet also-ran.
The initial mission of the new company, called Novonyx, will be porting SuiteSpot servers to the IntranetWare platform. SuiteSpot already runs on Windows NT and various Unix flavors.
Plans also call for Novonyx to work on new products in the future, according to Novell and Netscape officials.
Novell President Joe Marengi says the pair opted to form a new company rather than simply forge a partnership, because it allows them to better focus on the task at hand. "[It] eliminates all the internal conflicts that would happen inside the companies between competing contingencies, [such as Novell] GroupWise vs. [Netscape] Communicator."
Both companies stress their alliance will not lead to product-line phaseouts. "The idea is that Novell can build its products the way that it wants to, Netscape can build its products the way that it wants to, and to have a separate entity that's able to take the best of both companies' technologies and move it forward aggressively into the marketplace using a very, very well-established infrastructure and channel," Marengi says.
Michael Cowpland, CEO of Ottawa-based Corel Corp., an ally of both Novell and Netscape, says the deal makes sense to him.
"Novell's got the directory services. They've got the industrial strength. But Netscape's got the sizzle," he says. "So it could be a great combination, when you've got the sizzle and the steak."
Both Novell and Netscape are providing an undisclosed amount of capital to jump-start Novonyx, which will be based in Utah.
John Paul, Netscape's new vice president of strategic development, says that within 60 days he expects a management team to be in place. Within three to six months, he figures the first products will be ready: Netscape's Enterprise and FastTrack servers as NetWare Loadable Modules ported to IntranetWare.
Plans call for the rest of Netscape's SuiteSpot software to be ported to IntranetWare, but officials have yet to specify a timetable.
Netscape will be licensing the source code for its entire server line, which includes its own Directory Server, so that it can be integrated with Novell products.