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Novell hones directory software, tools

The network software maker launches an offensive targeted at gaining a greater chunk of the e-commerce and Internet software market.

Network software maker Novell today launched an offensive targeted at gaining a greater chunk of the e-commerce and Internet software market.

As previously reported, Novell announced new software and partnerships to give businesses the technology they need to link their employees, suppliers and partners, and to manage those relationships.

The new strategy centers on Novell's flagship directory software, technology that serves as a central information database--or "yellow pages"--for users, systems and software.

Novell today announced several new products that work with the directory: software called "iChain" that securely connects companies together, tools that manage multiple directories in different corporate networks, and "eGuide" software that allows businesses to easily publish directory information on a users' desktop computer.

"We're trying to enable e-business. The problem in the past is a firewall blocks everyone from coming into your companies," said Novell chief operating officer Stewart Nelson. "Our goal is to provide the software that runs on top of our directory that ties the Net together--the Net being the Internet, intranet and extranet. The walls come down."

The iChain software connects companies together and includes connections to billing systems, allowing businesses to complete transactions online.

As part of its announcement, Novell partnered with more than a dozen companies, including BroadVision, Compaq Computer, IBM, Intershop Communications, PeopleSoft and Perot Systems.

iChain will be available in two months, while eGuide will ship in two weeks. The directory software-based management tools for server systems and networks, called ZenWorks, are available now.