At BrainShare, the company also will announce a deal that
will see the SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 preloaded on hardware
from a major vendor.
will use its annual BrainShare conference here March 17 to announce new and
expanded partnerships as well as to show off some of the features and
functionality of its upcoming SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11.
Novell officials told eWEEK that several new partnerships will be announced
during the opening keynotes, including a major new deal that will see SLED (SUSE
Linux Enterprise Desktop) 10 preloaded on some hardware from a major vendor.
SLED 10 recently started shipping on Dell and Lenovo boxes
, and the company said at the time that it was
looking for other OEM partners
There will also be an announcement about a significant expansion of an
existing relationship, the officials said, but they declined to give more
specifics ahead of the conference.
Ron Hovsepian will also use
his keynote address to talk about how the company plans to aggressively take on
Microsoft's SharePoint solution
with its recently released Teaming and
"With our solution, customers do not need to upgrade their whole framework-as
they do with Microsoft's solution-which saves them money, and they can easily
integrate it into their environment from a standards perspective as it has
broader and more open document storage capabilities," Hovsepian told eWEEK in
The core engine of Novell Teaming and Conferencing, which was released in
September 2007, came from a SiteScape
, which Novell acquired in February and which also
built the event handler piece.
Novell has spent the last six months working on hardening and integrating
that and making sure that everything flows through it correctly, Hovsepian
There is no real competitor to SharePoint at this time, he said.
"We saw the opportunity there and decided to go after it, taking the
open-source path and helping build this up in the community and do something
special with it to create a legitimate open-source alternative to SharePoint,"
While there are a couple of customer product trials under way, Hovsepian is
bullish about the market opportunity for an alternative to SharePoint, "which
has the added advantage of eventually tying into a desktop discussion. I call
this the killer app," he said. "What drove NetWare was PCs and the need for the
network: That was the killer app. It then migrated-we weren't paying attention-to
the office productivity suite and e-mail systems. We are paying attention this
time, and we are making sure to go after that innovative killer app."
Asked why SLED 10 has not taken any ground from Microsoft even though Windows Vista is being poorly received
in the market,
Hovsepian said reasons include examining why people change their desktop
and considering factors such as what the market disruption needs to be to cause
people to change their desktop and what they would upgrade to.
"We think that there will be a couple of key segments: There is the
efficiency and control desktop segment, and we have a good chance to talk to
them and bring them over to the Linux framework. We also have a good chance to
move some of them to the other hot emerging category, which is thin clients. We
have to build our credibility around that and then expand from there," he said.
Hovsepian is optimistic that some of those customers ditching Lotus Notes
will come his way, "so that's why we're chasing this very aggressively."
The company is also doing well on other fronts, he said, with Novell
GroupWise posting a 7 percent rise in invoicing last year and its Linux
revenue growing 69 percent year-on-year to bypass the $100 million mark
for the first time, which Hovsepian said is "moving in the right direction."
But that pales in comparison to Red Hat's Linux business, which generates
revenue of about $125 million a quarter.
Hovsepian said the company is working hard at changing that differential,
starting with large companies like HSBC
Credit Suisse and Costco, all of whom are standardizing on SUSE Linux.
"You have to start with those big anchor accounts, and then the rest starts
to trickle down because then all the partners and vendors and everyone else
want to be with them because customers drive it at the end of the day," he