Former Novell CEO Noorda dies

Former Novell CEO Ray Noorda has died following a long battle with Alzheimer's disease

The man who built Novell into the dominant provider of LAN software in the mid-1990s has died.

Ray Noorda died Monday due to complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 82.

Noorda joined the Utah company when it was a 17-person operation, and was Novell's CEO from 1983 to 1995. During that time he built the company's NetWare network operating system business into a multibillion dollar concern and embarked on a high-profile, and ultimately futile, attempt to take on Microsoft in the operating system and desktop application space.

Even after his retirement from Novell, Noorda was a towering figure in Utah's technology industry.

From 1995 onward, Noorda ran a venture capital firm called Canopy Venture Partners (the Canopy Group), which invested in over 100 companies. Canopy's most famous investment was in The SCO Group, which has been involved in a high profile lawsuit with IBM relating to the Unix operating system.

Noorda was widely recognized as the "Father of Network Computing" for his vision of what technology would do to tie together business computing around the world, according to Canopy.

"Ray was one of the innovators of the Utah Miracle," Utah Govenor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. said in a statement. "He launched what would become Utah's technology sector. He has left behind a monumental legacy and we are all in his debt. He will be deeply missed."

Drew Major, a co-founder of Novell, said in a statement that Noorda was "a great mentor to all of his employees and gave us all opportunities to grow. With his integrity, he built a trust and a bond in the early Novell years that empowered us together to go out and change the world. Not only was he respected and appreciated by those who partnered with him but also by those who competed against him. Ray Noorda left a legacy of connecting computers and people and companies together."

Noorda was also an active donor to a variety of organizations related to his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He founded two groups, Angel Partners and the Worth of a Soul Foundation, to help with his family's charitable efforts.

Noorda is survived by his wife, Tyre, four children, and thirteen grandchildren.

Todd R. Weiss contributed to this story.

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