Tell Us Where We Stand

See no Novell. Hear no Novell.

See no Novell. Hear no Novell.

Thats how Novells Platinum partners feel about the recent Novell-CTP deal, especially when it comes to the details of Novells strategy for its partners.

Although the deal was announced early last week, most top partners have not been briefed. However, Novell is expected to drill down on the details of its go-to-market strategy at its BrainShare conference, to be held this week in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Reaction to the CTP deal is mixed among solutions-provider partners. Many observers are not surprised that Novell is stepping up its services push. "Novell has been pretty forward about moving toward services. The one question I have is, How are the Platinum-level resellers going to fit into the puzzle?" says Peter Lesser, managing director of Kraft Kennedy & Lesser, an IT consulting firm.

Lessers firm has been a Platinum reseller for about seven years. About four months ago, Novell cleaned up its partner program by thinning the ranks and tossing out low-performing members from its Platinum and Gold program, its two highest levels in its tiered program.

Other Novell Platinum resellers are voicing cautious optimism. "I cant figure out what is going on there. My initial reaction is they have to figure out what they are going to do to survive," says Howard Cohen, executive VP of sales, marketing and business development, at Micros-to-Mainframes.

"They [Novell] tried to be an application house, and they should never have tried at being a Microsoft killer. This move is a big change in focus for them," says Cohen, adding that Novell will use its new foot soldiers from CTP to promote Novell products and engage its partners.

"Novell cant get primary mind share even from their Platinums in a Microsoft world," Cohen adds.

Wall Street sees the Novell-CTP deal differently. Novells stock is at a 52-week low and some see this move as a last-grasp by a former giant. "My sense is that Novell has been in a downward spiral, and with that acquisition Im not sure how successful they are going to be," says Benny Lorenzo, general partner at Aspira Capital Management, an investment firm.

Lorenzo is cautious about Novells future. "Novell has wasted a lot of time. This is a way for them to get the service revenue and push their new solutions," Lorenzo says.