Novell grabs for ASP ring

Novell last week said it wants to become an application service provider, but it won't provide detailed plans until later this year.

"We're going to announce our ASP strategy later in the year," said Novell spokesman Jonathan Cohen. But he said Novell acquired JustOn's Web-based file-management business in Palo Alto, California, last week to build up the portfolio of technologies required to enter the application service provider marketplace as a supplier and a direct participant.

An application service provider remotely hosts the applications and data used by a client company.

"We're looking at both opportunities: to provide the services for consumers and businesses and to also make technology available to ASPs, including our partners," Cohen said. "We want to do both."

Terms of the JustOn acquisition weren't disclosed, and the deal isn't final. JustOn allows users to store and share files at a secure Web site using any Web-connected device.

Novell's most likely offerings as an application service provider would be network management services based on its directory, file-management and security software, said Lew Hollerbach, an analyst at Aberdeen Group in Boston. He noted that Computer Associates International, and Acer announced an application service provider joint venture in December.

Without details about Novell's plans, users were reluctant to comment, but they said their high regard for Novell's products would compell them to watch for those details.

Novell's desire to extend its capabilities is understandable, said Jamie Lewis, CEO of The Burton Group. But Novell will face the same challenge as vendors such as Oracle, which is trying to sell products to application service providers while competing with them.

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