After a long tenure as a chemist for such companies as Oil of Olay, BIC Corp., Bayer and Glaxo, my shift into IT was through a friend who owned a Novell VAR. At the time, Novell 3.12 was as rock solid as Linux is. (Novell tried to use Linux as a lever against Microsoft. In 1993, Novell acquired Unix System Laboratories from AT&T, securing rights to UNIX. Some of UNIX found its way into SCO (the Santa Cruz operation). It didn't help. Neither did buying WordPerfect and Quattro Pro from Borland in 1994. Even Eric Schmidt as CEO couldn't bring back the glory days.
Microsoft beat Novell, even though Novell's server software was far better than NT. You could nail a 3.12 server shut in a closet (which surprisingly some customers did unkowingly) and wouldn't know it until a server part failed (usually the power supply).
Novell was bought today by Attachmate Corp. for $2.2 billion. It will become a brand in the Attachmate portfolio: Attachmate, NetIQ, Novell and Suse.
And to just make matters worse, Novell will sell to CPTN all of Novell's right, title and interest in 882 patents for $450 million in cash before the acquisition by Attachmate, according to the SEC form 8-k filed by Novell. Odd.