Novell’s sour grapes over losing L.A. city e-mail contract to Google

Former Novell exec (and current highly esteemed blogger) Matt Asay opines on Novell’s announcing that it lost the city of L.A.’s e-mail business to Google Apps:

This isn’t the Novell that I know. I used to work for Novell, and have never seen the company publicly criticize a customer, not even for defection, of which Novell has seen plenty over the last decade.

It’s unclear who Novell is hoping to persuade with the announcement, or what benefit it hopes to derive from it. Is it trying to stem a tide of customers dropping GroupWise for Google Mail? If so, why has it not done the same for all the companies (and there have been plenty) leaving GroupWise for Microsoft Exchange or IBM Notes/Domino?

I’ve used GroupWise before in a previous job. This was more than a few years ago, when a Web-based mail client as a companion to a traditional client app was a bit more novel (no pun intended, but if you choose such intention, I won’t be angry about it) than it is today.

I neither liked nor hated Novell’s e-mail implementation. I did find the Web component a tad awkward (but remember, this was a bit less than 10 years ago).

And today I choose to use the “traditional” Thunderbird mail client in many instances where I could use a Web-based client, mostly because the system my company uses for Web-based mail is both slow, feature-poor … and did I say slow? A good many of my co-workers pipe their mail through Google’s Gmail, and I probably should, too. If I didn’t have such a favorable impression of Thunderbird, I’d probably do just that (and I could do it anyway and keep using Thunderbird if I so chose; I’m just too lazy at present to try it).

But Gmail — and Google Apps — are very, very different from the traditional way of computing, with information stored on the local drive or on a LAN, apps on the local client/drive and possibly a Web interface as an afterthought.

It’s a whole new world, and there are probably more than a few companies large and small can do most everything they need with Google Apps. There’s nothing stopping said companies from using OpenOffice or even the full MS Office for as many or few desktops as they wish.

And Novell never acknowledges that L.A. city workers’ opinion of its services and systems is not good. Downtime is a problem.

So now it’s sink/swim time for Google in the enterprise, a place where until now it did not care to tread but also where, at present, it’s turning everything we know about enterprise computing upside down (along with cloud leader Amazon … and probably soon IBM and others).

L.A.’s the big-city Guinea pig for cloud computing; in the months ahead we’ll see who thinks it cute and cuddly and who smells the proverbial rat.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: