Novell knows how important networking is to good business. The company develops network connectivity software that links desktop computers to corporate networks, integrating directories, storage systems, printers, servers, and databases. Novell also provides a version of the Linux operating system tailored for businesses (SUSE), network management software (ZENworks), collaborative tools (GroupWise), and network security products (Sentinel). Its services include consulting, support, and training. The company sells directly and through distributors and systems integrators to a global clientele. Formerly a public company, Novell was acquired by Attachmate in 2011 for about $2.2 billion.
The acquisition followed an unsolicited 2010 bid from hedge fund Elliott Associates to buy the 93% of the company that it did not already own for about $1.8 billion. Novell's board rejected the bid as too low, saying it undervalued the company's franchise and growth prospects. The Attachmate deal was announced after months of negotiations with other prospective buyers.
In order to meet antitrust conditions stipulated by the US Department of Justice and complete the deal with Attachmate, Novell was required to sell some of its intellectual property -- including nearly 900 patents -- to CPTN Holdings, a consortium of technology companies made up of Oracle, Apple, EMC, and Microsoft, for $450 million (included in the $2.2 billion transaction).
The company divides its business into three main product categories: collaboration (GroupWise and Open Workgroup), endpoint management (ZENworks), and file and networking services (Border Manager and Open Enterprise Server).
Its collaboration applications are designed to help businesses boost productivity by linking individuals and teams with tools for managing email, scheduling, contacts, documents, workflows, social networking, mobile access, and other tasks. Novell's file and networking services product group focuses on tools for file, print, and networking services across Windows, Macintosh, and Linux platforms. These products are designed to control and automate file storage, simplify network management, enable printers installation, and automate disaster recovery functions. The company's endpoint management applications help businesses deliver the correct digital working environment to each employee regardless of their location or the device they use. These tools automate the management of software updates, compliance, and network security among other functions.
Much of Novell's product strategy has been driven by a push to expand past its roots as a provider of network operating systems. The company has branched into Linux, identity management software, and systems and resource management applications to fuel growth in recent years.
Looking ahead, Novell has said that its plans to expand its relationships with the extensive user base it has built over about 30 years. In particular the company has stepped up marketing of its online collaboration software, networking tools, and endpoint management tools by investing in engineering and creating dedicated direct sales teams to push them. In terms of new product development, Novell is also creating applications to address the burgeoning mobile and cloud computing spaces.
Novell has strategic partnerships with CA, Dell, Intel, Microsoft, and SAP.