Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 22nd Jun 2006 14:09 UTC, submitted by Flatline
Novell and Ximian Novell's board of directors on Thursday named Ron Hovsepian CEO and president to replace Jack Messman, and ousted the company's chief financial officer. In a conference call on Thursday, company executives said the changes were made to accelerate the growth at Novell, which has had disappointing financial results, particularly in its Linux business.
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All this talk about narrowing focus is worrisome. I think Novell needs to be widening its focus and branching out in search of more opportunities, whether that's breathing some life back into Netware (still overpriced, even after being beaten into a pulp by Win NT). Their Desktop Linux looks promising, but most software firms that have (arguably) lost money. Remember Corel. And Red Hat makes money through its server software and support.

No, Novell's problem has been that they're trying to embrace a new product/technology paradigm, but they're encumbered with a legacy old-school sales and management structure that won't let go of those Netware renewals that still roll in every year (in ever-shrinking numbers). Throwing sh!t at the wall to see what sticks isn't necessarily the best operating strategy unless you've got hordes of capital to burn through and can afford to experiment, a la google.

They need a focus, whether it's Netware/proprietary or whether it's OSS-Love everywhere, just make the decision and then restructure appropriately. The guys tagged with selling the new-tech this-is-our-future products are second-class citizens to the legacy 10+ year-under-their-belts corporate Netware guys who are simply waiting to be packaged out anyways.

This is likely just the first move in a necessary overhaul of Novell's structure so it will be interesting to see.

Whether they can really succeed with their linux strategy still remains to be seen, but without a proper focus, strategy and structure, then it would be doomed to fail anyways, so I'm cautiously optimistic, though a lot of work remains to be done.

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