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Novonyx bites the dust

The joint venture between Novell and Netscape is being shut down, with employees and operations being sent to Novell, executives say.

SAN JOSE, California--Novonyx, the combined spin-off effort of Novell (NOVL) and Netscape Communications (NSCP), is no more.

Executives from both companies said employees at the jointly funded company will be rolled into Novell under the guidance of Chris Stone, senior vice president of corporate strategy. Rob Hicks, former chief executive at Novonyx, will return to Novell as vice president of strategic investments.

The announcement comes on the same day that Netscape reported fourth-quarter losses much worse than analysts had predicted. (See related story)

Novonyx was launched last year to fill the void in Web-based applications for NetWare, Novell's flagship network operating system (NOS). The results of that effort are now available: versions of Netscape's FastTrack, Enterprise, and Messaging servers for NetWare.

Now the engineering and executive teams at Novonyx will be brought into Novell to develop further products, according to executives at both firms, with funding continuing to be provided jointly.

Analysts said the move may have more to do with simplicity than anything else. "Perhaps they realized that adding another name to the mix wasn't going to make it any clearer," noted Jean Bozman, software analyst with International Data Corporation.

A casualty of Novell's close relationship with Netscape is Novell's internally developed Web server. "Netscape's was more robust than anything we were able to throw together," said John Slitz, senior vice president of marketing at Novell.

Netscape's FastTrack server will be bundled in the forthcoming Netware 5.0 release, due this summer, and made available for free to NetWare 4.x customers as well.