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Novell's Linux Strategy Progress Report

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SUSE

n January 2004, CBR reported on Novell's planned acquisitions of SUSE Linux and Ximian, noting that the purchases represented the potential dawn of a new age for the company, but that "in many ways the difficult part of the acquisition process still lies ahead."

Two years on and Novell can claim to have finished 2005 on a high note, with both revenue and net income up for the full fiscal year, and a significant rise in Linux subscriptions, as well as a high-profile contract with the National Health Service in the fourth quarter.

The company's fourth-quarter performance was such that president for EMEA, Thomas Francese, declared the company reborn. But while there was an improvement in revenue, that bullishness was perhaps as much to do with relief as it was confidence, as Novell comes to the end of what have been, in the words of chairman and CEO Jack Messman, "complex transformations".

The year-end upturn provided respite for Messman after a difficult couple of quarters that saw his management and the company's performance criticised, first by investment firm Blum Capital, which owns or controls 5% of Novell's outstanding shares, and then Credit Suisse First Boston analyst Jason Maynard.

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