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Business Week: The New Novell: Tough Enough to Fend Off Microsoft?

Sep 09, 1999, 20:00 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Sam Jaffe)

"Novell rebounded after new CEO Eric Schmidt reorganized the company and rebuilt its product line to replace the NetWare operating system as the company's flagship program. In its place, Novell introduced Novell Directory -- an uber-directory that organizes and controls all others on a network. The current version of the product, called Novell Directory Service 8.0, is a breakthrough success. Novell says that more than 200 of the world's 500 largest companies use NDS."

"To hear some analysts tell it, a new menace has arisen -- from the direction of Redmond, Wash. Microsoft's (MSFT) new operating system for networks, called Windows 2000, will include a so-called Active Directory system that will compete with Novell's Directory. ... 'Windows 2000 is going to have a negative effect on Novell,' says Morgan Stanley Dean Witter analyst Charles Phillips, who nevertheless rates Novell's stock as outperform.

A close look at the directory market, however, shows that Windows 2000 might not be as potent a threat as some think. ... Novell's genius was to make its Directory platform-independent. Thus it can oversee a network that includes PCs running the Windows NT operating system, a NetWare printer network, and an E-mail system that runs on Unix servers -- all at once. By contrast, the Active Directory in Windows 2000 will only interact with other Microsoft products. ...for large corporations, it represents an infrastructure nightmare."

"Unlike other software companies -- such as Oracle (ORCL) -- that have failed in trying to develop their own consulting businesses, Novell is teaming up with established consulting firms to train companies to use NDS and related products. Its revenues from consulting are running 40% ahead of a year ago."

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