Novell has its ups—the promise of its new desktop—and its downs—its last quarters results—but Jack Messman, the companys CEO, is determined to see the open-source course his way.
In an interview with Linux-Watch, Messman explained where he thinks the company is today and where it, and its Linux products, are going.
Regarding the companys disappointing performance last quarter, Messman said, "We dont run the company on the quarterly basis. We beat the estimates last quarter. We gave them guidance that was conservative, but the stock got hit anyway.
"If you take away the unusual [stock-option expenses and a quarter of the $448 million net gain from the Microsoft antitrust settlement], Novell would have posted a profit of $18 million, or 4 cents a share for the most recent quarter. This was up from $10.3 million, or 3 cents, earned a year earlier and just ahead of estimates."
Messman credits this to "an increase in Linux revenue and an increase in efficiency of operations behind the scenes." Still, he found the first quarter Linux revenue, which was up 18 percent from the last quarter, "disappointing." While "invoicing was above industry growth rates," he thinks Novell can "continue to do better in the Linux space."
This isnt a case of the CEO just puffing up his company. Others agree with him. After the quarterly report, Soleil Securities Group upgraded its stock from sell to hold after reviewing Novells results.
However, Messman has had trouble during the past 12 months with some corporate investors. The Blum Capital Partners LP investment firm and Credit Suisse First Boston both wanted Novell to make changes—big changes. While Novell agreed to some of them, such as a stock buy-back plan, Messman didnt agree to others. In any event, Novell has yet to buy back share one of its stock, because its in a blackout period.