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Novell earnings fall short

Novell officials blame lower-than-expected first-quarter results on market softness in Europe and Japan.

Novell's (NOVL) first-quarter results came in under expectations today, with officials from the company pointing to market softness in Europe and Japan as the cause.

The billion-dollar software manufacturer announced earnings of 15 cents a share on $375 million in revenue, 3 cents lower than consensus estimates from investment researcher First Call.

Income for the quarter fell to $51 million. The results were announced after financial markets closed. Novell's stock remained stagnant amid heavy trading today, up 1/8 of a point to 12-7/8.

The news follows a fiscal fourth quarter in which revenue shrunk by $103 million, a portion of which may be the result of a recent company sell-off of languishing businesses. Earnings for that quarter were 17 cents per share.

Sales of Novell's core product, the NetWare server operating system that has been renamed IntranetWare, grew ten percent to $251 million compared with the first quarter of 1996. Novell officials said they expect adoption of key company technologies such as NetWare Directory Services, an address book of network resources that serves as an important administrative tool for network managers, and IntranetWare to drive growth through the year.

In addition to IntranetWare and NDS, Novell manufactures the GroupWise software messaging package and the ManageWise network management suite for local area networks (LAN).