Novell will re-position NetWare, its flagship networking operating system, and BorderManager, its internet connectivity software, as part of its battle for market share with Windows and Linux.
Speaking this week as the company announced disappointing financial results, Novell officials said they no longer refer to NetWare as a network operating system (OS) but as a "platform" for storage, database, printer, email and directory services. Novell also now prefers the word storage to describe NetWare file services.
Novell said it would deliver a symmetric multiprocessing version of NetWare later this year that lets users tie together multiple server processors. Novell will also ship a 64-bit version of NetWare for graphic and computer intensive applications, as soon as Intel delivers its 64-bit Itanium processor.
It also expects to deliver a 32-bit version of NetWare for multiprocessor servers in the first or second quarter of next year that will include processor failover, selective processor matching and DFS support.
The company is hoping to compete more competitively against OSs like Linux and Windows. According to market research firm IDC, Linux replaced Novell's NetWare in the number two spot in new server OS shipments in 1999, and Microsoft's software is expected to retain the top spot in new shipments of server software. IDC said Novell will ship one million NetWare 5.x servers this year, up from 580,000 last year.
Novell said the BorderManager team is considering positioning the software package for the proxy server, security server and virtual private network markets. Contrary to the rumours, Novell said it has no plans to break BorderManager into multiple products. Instead, Novell is working to fine tune BorderManager's ability to fill multiple security needs.
During a conference call, Novell chief executive Eric Schmidt addressed questions of a possible takeover by IBM. "People love to generate rumours. It's important to consider shareholder value, but we don't have any plans specific enough to talk about," he said.
Novell tiptoed past third quarter estimates, earning $8.6m, or three cents a share, on sales of $27m. First Call consensus expected the software developer to earn two cents a share in the quarter.
Company officials said they will take further steps in the fourth quarter to cut back expenses, but did not provide any details.
Novell recently reorganised itself into three business units - appliances, directory services and NetWare - to streamline operations. The ever-struggling company had previously been on a comeback trail.
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