Novell used the announcement of its first-quarter results last week to outline its strategy for this year.
The key plank in that strategy will be Java. Novell has set up a $50 million (#30.5 million) Java Development Fund to foster growth in Java-based Internet software for NetWare.
The money is to be targeted at second- and third-round investments in companies developing Java-related software for Novell's network servers.
Novell reported revenues of $252 million (#153.7 million) and profits of $14 million (#8.5 million) for the quarter ended 31 January. The profit is the company's first since Eric Schmidt took over as CEO in April last year, and is the result of cost-cutting measures and management restructuring that Schmidt has implemented over the past six months.
Revenues were down from last year's figure of $375 million (#228.7 million), but Schmidt attributed this to changes in shipping software inventory to distributors and dealers, which previously had inflated sales figures.
The economic turmoil in Asia was also blamed for the drop in revenue.
Schmidt has focused the company on certain key areas, like Java and directory services. His background as a technologist at Sun has been instrumental in the move towards integrating Java into more of Novell's products, and all Novell engineers have been brought up to speed on the language.
Dominic Storey, Novell's director of technology in the UK, said that customers are seeing a clarification in Novell's role. "Manageability is a strong priority for us in the current multi-vendor environment," he claimed.
He added that Novell's priorities are still to reduce costs and widen the product range, starting with the release of NetWare 5, which will contain a Java application server for networks this summer, and NDS for Solaris at an unspecified date.
Storey also reported a 20% rise in the number of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) signing up to the platform in the last month.
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