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Schmidt sees info utilities

Internet technologies are creating an opportunity for new "information utilities," Novell CEO Eric Schmidt said today in his keynote at Summer Internet World.

CHICAGO--Internet technologies are creating an opportunity for new "information utilities," but no one yet knows what they will look like, Eric Schmidt, chairman and chief executive of networking firm Novell (NOVL) said in a speech this morning at Summer Internet World.

"We are not at the end, but at the beginning of this journey," Schmidt said referring to the evolution of the Web. "We have a name, the Web, but we may not have a destination."

Schmidt suggested one possible destination: a services model where Web companies act as utilities that provide information. However, he said no pure model exists yet for the info utility scenario, which will require a substantial boost in Net bandwidth in order to succeed.

"Our industry is fundamentally locked into thinking about the old paradigm instead of the new paradigm," said Schmidt.

Of course, Schmidt's company, Novell, just happens to have technology on hand to make the transition possible. He said Novell will enable the shift to a services model through its directory technology, Novell Directory Services (NDS). As previously reported by CNET's NEWS.COM, Novell is considering whether to release some NDS software code to the Internet Engineering Task Force to become an Internet standard.

"A scalable directory gives you networkwide location independence," he said. He said Moab, code name for the next version of NetWare, will be "the first truly transport independent operating system in the industry."

Novell also will integrate technologies to work with Microsoft's Windows-related technologies, a frequent Schmidt target when he was chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems.

"Our customers want integration between Novell and Microsoft," Schmidt said after his speech. "We are not going to fight a holy war over the interface."

Schmidt said directory services like NDS will be key in enabling electronic commerce, primarily because a directory manages the digital certificates necessary to authenticate users, a prerequisite for Internet transactions.