The Wizard Moved Out - Page 4

Goodbye, Aunt Em Novell moved its caching development effort into a separate division about nine months ago. The company quickly grabbed about 17 percent of the caching market, according to Novells internal estimates. However, Novells $1 billion networking business largely overshadowed the caching push, which generated less than $10 million in annual sales for Novell last year. "It was apparent that we needed to [spin off] from Novell," says Major.

Investors and partners certainly agree. Novells annual revenue fell 9 percent in 2000, the companys stock is trading near a 52-week low and CEO Schmidt isnt predicting any quick fixes.

Plenty of companies still want to work with Novell on new projects, but they dont necessarily want to pump money into the ailing networking giant. Even Major concedes that point: "Nortel said they wanted a piece of the [caching] technology without [buying] a piece of Novell."

After months of rumors, Novell announced the Volera spin-off plan on Feb. 2. Accenture and Nortel vowed to support the effort from day one, and Exodus Communications recently agreed to evangelize Voleras Content Exchange service to its worldwide customers. The alliance should give Exodus data-center customers much faster Internet performance.

Ironically, former Novell CTO Kanwal Rekhi was an angel investor in Exodus. Major says he bumped into Rekhi about two years ago, during a birthday party for Noorda.

However, Major says he didnt call on Rekhi to score the Exodus deal. Instead, Volera worked the negotiations through GlobalCenter, a Global Crossing subsidiary that Exodus acquired in September for $6.5 billion.