Novell is to stop banging the Netware drum and will instead promote the use of its flagship Novell Directory Services (NDS) on a variety of platforms including Microsoft Windows 2000 and NT, Sun Solaris and Linux.
The company is also weighing up the pros and cons of giving NDS away for free, a move which analysts have long advised Novell to do to help its fight against Microsoft's Active Directory that will be released as part of Windows 2000.
Speaking publically for the first time since his appointment as Novell's most senior strategist, Carl Ledbetter outlined his goals to vnunet.com. They include putting NDS in the lofty position of being the directory for the public Internet network, rather than just concentrating on its traditional small business and enterprise markets.
The strategy is a far cry from the initial aims outlined by his predecessor, Chris Stone, when he joined Novell two years ago. Stone was charged with winning new and strategic relationships with key developers, including SAP, Baan and Oracle to the Netware platform, but Novell has sinced changed its story.
Said Ledbetter, who joined as senior vice president, business and corporate development this month: "We don't care what operating system you write to. The old world was about desktops or servers. Now I want applications to be written to run on the network, so that means writing to any operating system, either Netware, NT, Solaris or Linux."
Novell wants to recruit a new breed of applications developers to create Internet services that will help make NDS a standard directory for the Internet. Ledbetter said most of its current partners and resellers will follow Novell in its transition, but admitted there may be those that fall by the wayside.
He added: "Novell is not just a file and print and a network management company. We now provide management of the public network, and the directory is the key to making this happen."
Ledbetter also admitted that Novell is considering a variety of options for NDS, including giving the product away for free or opening up the sourcecode. However, he said any decision would have to be carefully thought out in order to ensure a continued revenue stream.
Analysts said Stone had wanted to give NDS away for free - a move that would have made it more difficult for Microsoft's Active Directory to make significant inroads into the market. But he failed to get backing from some of his fellow directors.
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