Ray Noorda, one of Microsoft's most tenacious foes in the operating system wars of the 1990s, died Monday at 82.
Noorda served as president and CEO of Novell, and pioneered NetWare, for many years the standard in operating systems for local area networks used in businesses. NetWare's ubiquity built Noorda's reputation as the "king of networking."
NetWare's popularity bedeviled Microsoft for years as the software giant sought to establish Windows as an industry leader with a series of NetWare-like products. Microsoft finally succeeded in the late 1990s with Windows NT, which largely displaced NetWare, though NetWare stalwarts exist to this day. Novell, meanwhile, has moved on: Its new focus is on Linux.
Noorda is credited by many with coining the term "coopetition" to describe a reality of the business world in which likeminded companies both cooperate and compete with one another. After leaving Novell, he founded the Canopy Group, a venture capital firm.
Blog community response:
"In many ways Noorda's Novell drove the peer-centric desktop networks within which we all live and work. While Noorda didn't have the Internet in mind, and his bitter battle with Microsoft tainted his later years, he was a giant of the personal computer industry and a true innovator."
--Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed
"So I may come down pretty hard on Novell because of their actions today, but in no way, shape, or form will I ever minimize their role in building the networks of yesterday, which set the stage for the interconnected global web of today. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Ray Noorda for having a big hand in creating the industry that pays all of our mortgages. Godspeed Ray and enjoy the next phase of your journey."
"I recall how all of his employees used to talk about him with both respect and with a feeling of family. Something you can't say about many big-company CEOs. Even then, Ray was older than most people in the nascent PC industry, and many of his employees called him 'Uncle Ray.'"