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worldwide service, we've got a consulting organization, a software stack with file and print and messaging and directory, we offer indemnity that Red Hat can't offer, because we used to own Unix. And we have a patent portfolio they don't have.
We've been gaining every month. The progress hasn't been as good as I liked. Pricing has come down, so we don't see the growth that we would have. We've signed some (computer maker) partners, and it takes a while for them to get to speed. The number of software partners increased significantly from 46 in 2003 to 531 in 2004. We have 1,100 applications certified on SuSE Linux.
You don't seem eager to enter the embedded Linux market (for computing devices such as cell phones or slot machines).
We've got so many opportunities. Do we want to take on another one? I'm not disparaging of the market.
Are you thinking of acquiring an embedded Linux company?
We looked at several companies who had products or tools in that area. Rather than decide yes or no, we decided it wasn't on our priority list.
Did you look at MontaVista?
They and Wind River and a number of others develop Linux for embedded applications. At this point, I'm neutral on it. The only thing that's a repeatable revenue stream (in embedded Linux) is selling the tools that allow (customers) to create the next embedded device.
What happened with the departure of Chris Stone (Novell's former vice chairman and top Linux executive) last year?
If you listen to the press, this was the guy who did everything at Novell and nobody else did anything. We had a difference of opinion about how the strategy would be executed. So it was better that we make a change. I think our organization is very happy with the change.
What was the difference of opinion?
To be fair to Chris--very talented guy, and I like him a lot. His style of operating didn't fit with the company at the time.
Are you looking for a chief operating officer or a replacement for yourself?
No. They're going to have to drag me out with my boots on. I love working for Novell. I helped create it more than 20 years ago. I hope the board will support me.
There are always going to be succession issues. We are always looking. We have some executive capabilities we need; some skills we lack. Novell has never been strong in the marketing area. We saw that and added Bill Hewitt.
We want to remain profitable, so we're not going to go adding helter-skelter new people or expenses. I'm not going to deny we're looking for executives, but I would be lying to say we have a specific thing we're looking to do.
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