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|锘? Once again one of the great brand names of High Tech has been prominently in the news Cheap Jerseys From China , for disconcerting reasons (if you're a fan or shareholder, anyway). This time it's Novell, Inc. A couple of weeks ago Novell announced that they are to lay off 1000 people, roughly 20% of their workforce. Certainly not a minor reduction, and not the first of its kind for this former industry stalwart.
This company holds a special place in my memory. In the early 90's the Novell name was synonymous with Networking. The company was a pioneer in Corporate Networking, and played a major role in helping to create this market as we now know it. When I entered this market in 1990, the company's core product, NetWare, held a commanding 70%+ market share in the networking software space, which was already very large at the time, and growing at a rapid rate. It was in this environment that I began my first general management position, starting up a systems and network management software business. Netware being the dominant NOS at the time, I got a very close look at the company's activities, and some of the decisions and events that began Novell's long decline. Novell is still a $1B company, but in terms of power and prominence, they are a shadow of the company I kept a close eye on in the 90s. It appears they are spiraling down toward a possible finish. The speculation is that they will become an acquisition candidate very soon, which could lead to the venerable Novell brand fading from view.
So what caused the unfortunate change in fortunes for this former industry high-roller?
It's a familiar story, actually, especially for those of you who are regular readers. The Novell story is particularly interesting, because several factors, each one itself capable of wreaking havoc on a solid company, came together to put this company into a long nosedive.
The first problem was what I call "Microsoft-itis". Novell became very successful on the back of its flagship NetWare platform Cheap NFL Jerseys , which drew the attention of Microsoft. Microsoft tends to become unhappy when any other software company grows too big, too fast. The upstart is then viewed as a potential threat in Redmond, as well as the fact that the market this other company has helped grow now becomes large enough to be attractive to MS. So the first problem was getting in the gun sight of Microsoft. Now, it's hard to blame the company for this, it's more of a side effect of success. This situation has caused problems for many a company, and is enough unto itself to throw a large majority of companies off their game. To have Microsoft target you is quite disconcerting, and if you don't make the right decisions, you may be in serious trouble. How a company reacts to this challenge is critical, and in truth, often life or death.
Unfortunately, in some cases, being targeted by Microsoft sometimes builds a company up in its own view. It's almost a baptism into the big-time. Microsoft is worried about us; we're a peer to them now! We must really be smart! This leads to a false sense of security about the company's true position in the market, leading to the second factor which can bring a company down--Arrogance.
Novell had plenty of excuses to be arrogant, even without Microsoft's attention. They were truly dominating the Network Operating System business. The brand was dominant, the product was good, and the worldwide distribution network of VARs and distributors was second to none. Sales people at Novell no longer had to sell--they took orders. That led to a need to keep the big ball fast growth rolling, even as the market matured and became quite large. Wall Street, you know. Novell became known as a company that pushed, rather than created via pull marketing. There were numerous channel-stuffing scandals, so sales people could make their quarterly numbers and max out their bonus. No matter, things were well in hand, Novell was on a roll.
The closest competitor at the time was Banyan Cheap Jerseys , with their VINES operating system. Banyan had a nice niche in the largest, WAN oriented corporations, but was no threat to Novell's dominance. There was also a fast growing peer-to-peer player, Artisoft, who had a nice niche in the entry level market. Again, Artisoft posed no serious threat. And then there was Microsoft, with its alliance on the LAN Manager NOS with 3Com. At the time, Microsoft's distribution strategy was still to primarily be an OEM supplier, preferring to let others take the lead in bringing the product to the end user market. They had piggybacked the hardware vendors with DOS and the emerging Windows 3.0, and were attempting to use that strategy in the Networking market with 3Com as their main partner. 3Com at the time was a dominant networking hardware vendor. They also teamed with many suppliers of UNIX software to create private label versions of LAN Manager for each UNIX flavor--HP UX, for instance. There were about 17 other platform partners, as I recall. It looked like a formidable syndicate which could challenge Novell for market leadership.
However, like many early Microsoft entrees into new markets, the offering was a joke. LAN Manager ran on top of OS2, which should tell you something about its lack of success, right there. Technically inferior, with too many players involved to advance and support it, LAN Manager never gained significant traction vs. Netware, even with huge amounts of money being poured into development and marketing. Major new releases would be announced, each which was supposed be the one to give Novell a run for its money. It became a running joke in the network business. At this point, Novell looked invincible.
Then the arrogance at Novell rose to new levels. Apparently thinking Microsoft couldn't beat them at their own Free Articles Online &raq.