The decline of Novell

I’ve been reading up on Novell’s history. So far it’s got some fascinating twists and turns. Wikipedia sums up the turning point well:

The inclusion of networking as a core system component in all mainstream PC operating systems after 1995 led to a steep decline in Novell’s market share.

That is, once networking become “commoditized,” the unique position Novell had with IPX changed. And then there’s some channel hijinks that happened.

I’m also obsessed with figuring out what went wrong at Sun in the 2000s – Novell seems like some good mental training wheels for that.

The decline of Novell

Things were different back in 2003, but developers still were kingmakers

From Rachel Chalmer’s 2003, coverage of Novell buying “SuSE” (451 client access required):

Historically, Novell’s Achilles’ heel has been its inability to keep its independent developer community happy. Some fled NetWare for OS/2, which IBM botched in its turn. Meanwhile, Microsoft was happy to embrace and pamper NetWare and OS/2 burn victims as independent software vendors for Windows. Now developers are asking themselves whether Novell has learned its lesson, or whether it’s about to make the same mistake again. The provisional answer is that this is not your father’s Novell. Ray Noorda is long gone, and his replacement, Sun veteran Eric Schmidt, has jumped ship for Google. The office of the CEO is now split between two people: Jack Messman, ex-CEO of Cambridge Technology Partners, a career executive with roots in the oil and gas exploration industry; and Chris Stone, ex-CEO of the Object Management Group

It’s amazing how different things were back then, well, platform-wise. Because OS/2!

Things were different back in 2003, but developers still were kingmakers