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The Forseeable Death of Novell and Their Products

By Why Me Worry? ·
When I first started out in my career over 10 years ago, Novell as a company was strong and having a CNE certification was something to be proud of and well respected in the industry and among the I.T. community. Granted, it was a very rigorous and tough curriculum, but I made it and achieved the level of CNE with proficiency in Netware 3.x all the way to Netware 6.5 being used today. Anyhow, Novell as a company makes good products for the enterprise and has a large customer base among both gov't and prive firms all over the world, but they are seriously lacking in the marketing area and don't know how to sell their products effectively. Microsoft on the other hand has a very strong and effective marketing team and sells their products quite well, even though it is well known that Windows is bug ridden and Microsoft has yet to fully make a secure product worthy of calling secure. Novell has been preaching to the choire and not targeting the proper audience, thus suffering in their ability to expand to new markets. I have written to Novell and expressed my concerns as a CNE that their failure to properly promote and market their products to new customers and markets is potentially damaging to them as well as to the careers of millions of CNEs' and CNAs' out in the field. My complaints fell on death ears as they just can't seem to get it right. They came out with a few cheesy TV commercials, but unless you already knew who they were or what they were all about, you were left asking yourself "what the **** was that and what are they selling?". The problem is that Netware today is no longer the legacy file/print server it once was and can now handle streaming media and web services, but Novell keeps marketing it as a file/print server to their own dismay. It's also funny because Novell is located in Provo, Utah, and consists of predominantly Mormon employees, and if they marketed their products as well as they run around shoving their religion down the throats of others, they would not be in such a bad shape. Microsoft has the upper hand, and even the firm I work for has decided to terminate its relationship with Novell after 10+ years of being an MLA customer and go all Windows/Exchange 2003 instead of mixed Windows 2000/Netware 6 with eDirectory. Our decision to dump Novell was based on business needs because GroupWise is not very popular or even supported among third party sofware developers for wireless devices, and the first mention of Novell or GroupWise gets a very poor reaction from vendors and developers who quickly hang up the phone. Alot of is is bias towards Novell and their products, but a lot of is is Novell's own doing because they are not doing enough to entice development or partnerships with 3rd party companies and alienating themselves and many of their customers who need GroupWise to be compatible with wireless devices like Blackberries and PDAs'.

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Old theory

by Oz_Media In reply to The Forseeable Death of N ...

It's an age old argument that Novell's marketing practice (or lack thereof) is going to see the end of them, I've heard it for years.

I am a self employed MCNE.sales rep/operations/efficiency planner-guy and have NO problem selling Novell over MS on a regular basis.

There are 3RD party tools for GW for wireless client connect and it does handle many wireless devices right out of the box. Novell's wireless solution isn't expensive either,

But as far as Novell, I have only sold one Novell Desktop Linux package but quite a few upgrades from MS servers with Exchange to Novell Suse with either Suse mail or GW.

You're right, they have a large Enterprise market, are HUGE in Eastern Europe, and have a large global government share, including, finance, stock market, military, and other major government organizations. It's the backbone that stands up and those who can't take risks know it, MS just seems to get father and farther into the dumps in that respect.

There's a lot more to software other than features, I learned to sell other aspects of Novell instead.

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I wish my company saw it that way

by Why Me Worry? In reply to Old theory

but with all of the problems we had with GroupWise 6.0 and Novell Engineering's resistance to fix our version, that was the straw that broke the camel's back and motivated our IT director's decision to dump Novell in favor of Microsoft. Also, I think it has a lot to do with his personal preference and prejudice towards Novell, which is not uncommon among IT directors who don't really know much about the underlying technology. I am personally dissapointed in seeing this because I won't be able to use my skills as a CNE and must now learn Microsoft/AD and Exchange, which I am not a big fan of, but if I am to remain employable, I need to expand my knowledge into multiple systems. It's a long road ahead of me and won't be easy, since AD has way too many components and crap behind it.

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The firm I just left is switching

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to The Forseeable Death of N ...

from Novell to ms. It wasn't why I left as I was therr doing VMS & Linux in process control. Apparently the firm who are contracted to doing IT support have convinced the board that ms would be a more cost effective solution in terms of a homogenous technology all the way through.
Never worked on the Novell side of the equation myself, but my take was novel was solid and ms 'feature' rich. Course in my opinion some of ms's features aren't particularly desirable and it's less than solid, but you can't argue with the bean counters if it' been sold to them as 'cheaper'.

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MS products have higher cost of ownership and support

by Why Me Worry? In reply to The firm I just left is s ...

yet I am puzzled as to how IT management was conned into thinking that it has a lower cost of ownership and higher return on investment. I'm currently the only senior Netware/NDS engineer for my firm supporting over 5000 users, yet we have about 15 guys supporting Windows and AD. What's wrong with this picture? Cheaper to implement and maintain Windows? They are already hiring more people for our upcoming migraton, so how is it cheaper when they have to pay more people to maintain it? In the long run, ROI will be little to nothing and they will end up pumping more money in high licensing and support costs, which Microsoft somehow does a good job of hiding it to keep suckering in the gullible IT managers.

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IT Managers had nothing to do with it

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to MS products have higher c ...

Decision was made at board level on the advice of finance. It can't have been IT advice that all went to the contractor they outsourced to. When they announced this new piece of idiocy, it was shake your head in disbelief while buffing up the cv time, I finished last Friday.

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Its the open source vs proprietary debate as well.

by CG IT In reply to The Forseeable Death of N ...

one of the huge benefits with Novell and Suse/Linux is that programmers can make programs which is why European governments, businesses and business consortims want Novell and or Suse/Linux as an O/S verses Microsofts Windows. They can develope, market and sell the next WorkPerfect or Lotus 123, or other programs that have a global market. They cant do that with Windows. It would be direct competition for Windows products like Word, Excel, etc. Businesses on the other hand like Windows because of the standarization it provides across all their needs [Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access, blah blah blah].

No other manufacturer provides that standardization. They either sell servers [as in the case of Novell] or they sell computers including the software [as in the case of IBM and Apple].

Microsoft doesn't sell computers, they sell what a computer can do.

Novell, Linux even IBM didnt and doesn't sell what a computer can do. They sell what it is. Novell sells servers and like Linux provides a platform for programmers to create their own programs e.g what a computer can do and then try and sell that to make zillions of dollar, just as it was in the days of DOS/Windows 3.1 when there were many different competing word processing programs. IBMs Display Writer, Work Perfect, Word Star, Microsoft Word blah blah blah.

Buisnesses cant afford programmers on their staff. They can't afford to develop a program for their needs. If they can buy it install it and it works without the need of expensive human resources they will do it and that is what Microsoft sells so successfully where other fail.

On a side note related to this is Oracle/Peoplesoft. I was recently approached by a firm representing a very large national insurance company that wanted a program created for their Oracle database. This program would be implemented company wide and basically was the interface between the user and the database. I asked how come they just didn't go to Oracle. To expensive they said. I didn't not pickup the project because they wanted ownership of the entire program including all documentaton.

Given that, I asked how come they just don't have their own programmers make it. "We don't employ any". They also didn't want to go the SQL/Acces route because "we are heavily invested with Oracle on a contractual basis. To switch would directly impact their bottom line though they confided that switching to a more standardized program is being reviewed.

This is a national insurance agency with mega bucks [hint M.I.]

Should be a hint to Oracle/Peoplesoft and all the rest. They are just to expensive and to narrow and specialized product line when they can get a standardized all encompassing product from Microsoft.

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Interesting post

by Oz_Media In reply to Its the open source vs pr ...

And while I agree with your concept, I only see that as successful inan ideal world.

IF Microsoft built a stable product that actually did what it was proposed to do, it WOULD be amazing.

The issue as EVERYONE knows, is security and stability.

There isn't a person on Earth who can argue Novell (or Suse and others) being more stable, and SECURE than Microsoft, this the BIG issue. IF MS could offer THAT reliability and security with all teh bells and whistles in the world (that actually worked) then they would very quickly have a complete business domination.

Whereas they CAN'T (or maybe that should be DON'T) offer what others do, there will always be a demand for that competition.

Look at the company's that do use other options as the backbone of their organization. These are some of the world's largest and most important computing systems, not "Bob&Joes Donuts, Cold Drinks and Web Services".

Smaller companies, and I mean large corporations that are small in comparisson, are more interested in toys, bells and whistles. It's no different than competetive marketing has been for decades, long before computing was part of the picture.

It's no differen't than a Sony stereo, fine by most people's standards, compared to Harman Kardon. Most people PREFER Sony, for what it offers (visually and harmonic control) to an HK. But anyone who takes music as a serious issue of audio quality and equipment stability, will overlook the SONY for the much simpler HK.

The bottom line is there is room for more than one player as we see online markets change so much. Some people need to dog & pony show, others need the reliability and client security.

There has always been choice and alternatives, this is what a decent set of laws provides us with in free democratic nations. That's why everyone keeps dragging MS to court for, we NEED choice, we DEMAND choice, we have FOUGHT for choice.

So why do we spend so much time trying to support a single solution?

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Open source et al

by jmgarvin In reply to Its the open source vs pr ...

I think MS is missing the boat on open source and working in the open source community. Many hardware manufacturers as well (Nvidia and ATI come to mind).

Novell made a good choice with SUSE and I'd like to see them eat some of Red Hat's market. Why? Because SUSE is different than Red Hat....Is it better? Na....Is it worse? Na...But they both offer functionality that MS either can't or won't.

I've had it with spyware, adware, viruses, lack of real user space, etc, etc, etc. MS you really need to get it together. Take a look at what Linux is doing and try to emulate them! Oh, and your executive is a mess, please fix it...your OS is too bloaty and the executive is half the problem!!!

While I'm venting. Linux Nazis, please shut up. You make the whole community look bad. Linux is not the uber OS because it is cool...it is a good OS that can be VERY securly configured. However, the admins must be trained and they must LEARN how to do it. Don't flame people from coming into newsgroups and asking for help.

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by jbaker In reply to The Forseeable Death of N ...

This was one of the reasons that I chose to diversify early in my career. Several of my early jobs were Novell related, and I absolutely loved the stability of the OS, and although sometimes the consoles were not the most intuitive, they got better as the OS matured.

However, since MS has stolen all of the best ideas from Novell and attemped to add them to the Windows Server System, I think that Novell is on the decline. As another poster said, though, they have appeared to be on the incline for years and years, yet they somehow continue to hang on.

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Reminds me of....

by jbaker In reply to The Forseeable Death of N ...

a story I once heard. A manager at the Novell corporate HQ was walking into the office on the Monday after a major round of layoffs. As he climbed the steps an older gentleman stopped and held the door open for him. He thanked the man, and idol small-talk ensued as they walked to the elevator. "How are things with you?" asked the manager.
"I cannot complain," states the man, "I have been here fifteen years, and I still count every Monday that I have a job as a good day, and every Friday as a great week."

The manager went on up to his office, parting ways with the old man, yet continuing to think about what he had said. That afternoon, there was to be a meeting with all of the upper management, basically a "briefing" about the "new" direction of the company. The manager sits anxiously in his seat, eager to hear what is about to be revealed. After the CEO is announced, the person who takes the stage and microphone is none other than the old man that had held the door for the manager that morning.

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