Novell is not up for sale, insisted chief executive Eric Schmidt on Wednesday, but he left himself some room for manoeuvre by insisting he was legally unable to comment on acquisition rumours.
According to rumours circulating in the industry, Novell is discussing a possible merger with IBM, with some observers predicting an announcement next Tuesday following the US Labor Day public holiday.
But speaking at the Java Internet Business trade show in New York,. Schmidt told reporters: ?The company is not up for sale.? Novell?s share price, which had been buoyed up by the takeover rumours, dropped by six per cent to below $10 - almost as much as they gained when the rumours started following his rebuttal. Analysts said they now think an IBM deal is unlikely in the near future.
Novell had intended to host a press conference following Schmidt?s keynote address to the conference,. but this was cancelled without explanation.
In his address, Schmidt positioned Java and network services as the two main planks of Novell?s product direction for the future. He said there would be a shift from the client/server model of the 1980s to a client services model with Java as the bedrock for the entire architecture. He explained Java?s role in the change from client/server to thin client-based computing and warned that Java must be as secure, fast and scaleable as C or C++ to take off.
Schmidt added to previous speeches by saying Java?s best commercial use is not in clients, where most investment has gone so far. "The money is in the middle tier; the real opportunity is network-aware applications running primarily on the server," he said.
Bandwidth is most crucial component of computing at the moment, Schmidt said, and Java will help users get what is most important to them - "a ubiquitous connected data network," he said. "Java will be the dominant programming language for the next 15 years."
Tuesday?s keynote speaker at the event, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, pulled out at the last minute.
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