Novell CEO Looks to the Future

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2008-03-17 Print this article Print

The company plans to continue making innovative ecosystem plays with key partners, says CEO Ron Hovsepian.

SALT LAKE CITY - When Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian takes to the stage to open the company's BrainShare 2008 conference here March 17, he will talk about what has been achieved over the past year and what he hopes to do in the year ahead.

Part of that will be to stress the company's financial performance and stability, and its commitment to growing its product set and customer base.

He will also pledge to continuing to pursue the new ideas coming from its relationships with Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, while also introducing some new desktop and server partners into the mix.

Hovsepian will also talk about how Novell has remodeled its business, business model and reworked its focus as a team over the past year.

"We have got revenue stabilized at the macro level for the first time in a long while, our operating income margin went from a negative in the first quarter to a positive eight percent in the fourth quarter," he told eWEEK in an interview.

Hovsepian's plan is to stick to this company strategy, which he introduced shortly after becoming CEO, and not try to come up with yet another one, as was so often the case at the company previously, when customers never quite knew what the latest strategy de jour was.

However, Novell's strategy is not static and inflexible, and will be refined further around Linux, virtualization and identity, and what it can achieve inside those markets, he said.

Hovsepian also wants to further refine the changes made to its business model, while continuing to make innovative ecosystem plays with key partners.

"So at the end of [2008], what I would like to have is a long list of key customers that are taking advantage of heterogeneous virtualization tools from Novell, leveraging their heterogeneous identity frameworks, again from Novell, built on top of SUSE Linux as a core platform," he said.

In addition, Hovsepian also wants shareholders "to wake up with twice the profit they got last year and a company headed in the right direction with great innovations coming out."

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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