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Attachmate CEO: We Can Grow Legacy Novell Business

The VAR Guy

June 6, 2011

4 Min Read
Attachmate CEO: We Can Grow Legacy Novell Business

During a recent interview with The VAR Guy, Attachmate CEO Jeff Hawn said he was absolutely committed to the SUSE Linux business — which Attachmate acquired as part of the Novell buyout. But that’s not all. Hawn also described how Novell’s assets would be organized under Attachmate’s ownership. Plus, Hawn predicted Novell’s legacy business — which includes GroupWise and ZenWorks — can potentially return to growth. Here’s the update.

At the start of our phone call, Hawn said Attachmate will focus on “great products and service and that certainly involves the channel. We know the importance that channel partners can play for us on a multiple of roles.”

Each business unit has a channel strategy, he added. The business unit strategies include…

SUSE Linux

The VAR Guy discussed early bids for Novell that did not include SUSE Linux. But Hawn explained the situation quite logically and reinforced Attachmate’s commitment to SUSE.

NetIQ

Certain Novell brands have been moved into the NetIQ business unit based in Houston, Texas, and will be rebranded as NetIQ products. “The Novell brand did no extend well into systems and security management,” said Hawn. “From that standpoint we have a great brandpoint with NetIQ.”

Novell product lines now operating under the NetIQ business unit include:

Over time, The VAR Guy believes, each of those Novell products will lose the “Novell” moniker and gain the NetIQ moniker.

Novell

Attachmate has also formed a Novell organization in Utah. That business unit will help “customers maximize their investments is extending support for the NetWare product as customers upgrade to Open Enterprise Server and continuing investments in Novell GroupWise and Novell ZENworks endpoint management solutions,” according to an Attachmate statement.

But here’s the really interesting twist. The VAR Guy asked Hawn if the Novell organization was a maintenance-mode business… or if Attachmate could grow the business unit. Hawn’s reply:

“The short answer is we think we can grow it. With all the humility in the world we have a pretty good track record of growing mature businesses. Our namesake is host connectivity which is terminal emulation and green screen. In four of the past six years we’ve had growth in that business. We’ll bring that growth recipe to Novell. I’m confident that can be a business that grows for us. We’ll deliver great products, great support and we’ll be easy to do business with. And because we’re private I can afford to be patient on investments in products in the channel.”

Staff Cuts and Moving Forward

Through the four business units — Attachmate, NetIQ, Novell and SUSE — the company will have focused product development efforts. But from an operational standpoint Attachmate remains “one company with one back office,” said Hawn.

It’s no secret that Attachmate cut Novell headcount as part of the acquisition. Hawn declined to discuss headcount figures or layoff figures but he indicated that the Novell cuts had been completed. “We don’t disclose headcount,” said Hawn. “When two fairly large companies come together there are certainly redundancies. There are some aspects of the business that I intended to emphasize more and some less. Our intent was to be fast and fair to all involved. At this point only focus is on operating all four units to their absolute potential.” The job cuts, he said, were completed within roughly 70 hours of Attachmate completing the Novell buyout.

Next Moves

No doubt, The VAR Guy will keep his eyes on Attachmate, Novell and the business units. Among the recent developments worth watching: Novell is now promoting a hosted version of GroupWise — bringing the client-server email system into the cloud era. It sounds like a partner is doing the GroupWise hosting. The VAR Guy is digging now for some details.

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