Comments about ‘Employees say hundreds laid off at Novell's Provo office’

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Published: Monday, May 2 2011 1:00 p.m. MDT

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West Valley, UT

To all you who think our economy is recovering... this is just a reminder to think again.

Wall St. may be up, but Main St. is still going down.

Durham, NC

At one time Novell and WordPerfect represented a solid power base in technology based in Utah valley. All that is left now is memories of that era. Hopefully the valley will spawn some new companies to regain its place on the technology map.

Bountiful, UT

Novell & WordPerfect are really good examples of the conflict between human beings, their interests, and the slow-motion brutality of raw, unfettered economic competition.

I knew years ago the excellent, admirable citizens employed by Novell & WordPerfect were going to be demolished in the market by competitors who stocked up on highly motivated individuals with little to no family obligations. For a short time I worked for Microsoft, and was amazed at how motivated and hard working their employees were. Even the secretary put in 60 hour weeks, and was genuinely very happy to do so. They were also usually single or without children.

The good people in Provo & Orem who were fathers & mothers, scoutmasters and church leaders didn't stand a chance in competing against Microsoft, and both companies have been also-rans in the world market, and have failed. It was like the Christians and the Lions.

As a nation we need to be very smart about how we engage the raw competition presented by the Asias of the world. The going rate for PhDs in India is $15K a year, what we pay fast food workers.

If we're not careful the slippery slope could be pretty steep.

No One Of Consequence
West Jordan, UT

"tried to reinvent itself as a distributor of the free Linux operating system."

Hard to make a profit when your customers think everything should be free.

It's better that we have a lot of little software companies than a few big ones that dump their employees by the busload.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Those buildings and accompanying outdoor exercise area (when one day Novell employees had morale, I meant existed at all) will make for wonderful eye sore for those getting off the freeway there in Provo.

Before this all happened, most of the Novell jobs had been outsourced to India. I'm with the guy above, the recession is far from over on Main Street.

Ann Arbor, MI

I thought Novell went the way of the typewritter.

Spanish Fork, UT

The Novell Campus will live on. Already many companies have located there. The space is excellent and the price is right.

Best wishes to all of the great Novell folks who go laid off. The economy is in dire straits and needs a shot of energy from new businesses. Too bad we have a president who keeps thinking government is the answer rather than solution. Small business have no business collecting taxes for the government (no business EVER pays taxes, they just collect them from customers).

Saratoga Springs, UT

Perhaps the additions of Oracle, Goldman Sachs, RBS, Twitter, Adobe, Microsoft, and eBay's expansion here will help soften the unemployment blow. Novell failed to keep up with the technological times. I am sure these layoffs are the removal of redundancies as Attachmate probably has a large staff as well. I expect the employees who remain to eventually be given the choice to relocate to where Attachmate is or choose to find other employment.

Surfers Paradise, AU

@hedge, you also think that Utah has a good basketball program...wrong on both counts. Moronic statements like yours have been circling Novell for years. It's a good company, with good technology and even better people in Utah, but horrible marketing over the years.

Never really had an identity, which is ironic because that's their flagship offering "Identity Manager".

Bountiful Democrat
Bountiful, UT

10CC - I find your comment about Word Perfect and Novell insightful, and I've often wondered myself if the family focused Utah Valley employees at these corporations were losing out because of all the "other" commitments of it's management and employees. I don't know anything about Novell and it's ups and downs, but it seems that Word Perfect was at least in part, a failure due to lack of leadership and vision. I read the book "Almost Perfect" - How a bunch of Regular Guys built Word Perfect". My take-away from that several years ago was a complete an utter denial on the part of leadership to acknowledge Microsoft's flexibility with the Windows format.

Interesting to see what the next 5 years Apple will do to Microsoft...
Just thinking...

Draper, UT

Hey 10CC,

The excellent, admirable people of Utah County are not being persecuted by evil single people who's only interest is working 60+ hours per week. That's a ridiculous and somewhat offensive take. Are single people somehow not excellent, admirable people with interests and families not associated with work? I work with an excellent, admirable husband and father, church leader, and scout master who works far more hours than the single people in our office.

Salt Lake City, UT

Had you read the article, you would see that this layoff was due to two companies merging. That is very very common in business. This was not a layoff due to economic conditions.

Bountiful, UT


Apologies if I offended you, it was not intentional. Of course the single workaholics were excellent people, as well. They certainly weren't evil.

They just didn't have as many competing interests in their lives, (at least the ones I worked with). It was not uncommon for some of our consultants to average 80-90 hour work weeks. One guy averaged over 100 hours a week for over a year.

When Microsoft interviewed people from WordPerfect or Novell who had been laid off, they asked questions in such a way to determine who had family obligations and who did not. That's not the sole determining factor of productivity, as you point out, but it is *a* factor.

All things being equal, a 20-something person who is highly passionate about their job & career will have more to offer in terms of effort than a 30 or 40-something dad with multiple external obligations.

I didn't stay with Microsoft, because frankly I had a family and was used to being a productivity leader in my company, not below average.

For me the lesson boils down to a frequent conflict between raw competition and human beings.

Provo, UT

Sorry moderate, whether that is the particulars of this company, which I think what you say is somewhat true but not completely true, DeltaFoxtrot is correct, the recession continues. I haven't got a real raise in years, gasoline prices are going sky high, inflation is hitting, real wages for most Americans are going down. My 401K has recovered a bit but I can't live on that right now. And for the hundreds that got laid off, and I know a few of them, this is a big deal, it isn't a recession or jobless recovery, it's just jobless and DEPRESSION(like)...

Walt Nicholes
Orem, UT

I think Novell died the day it decided to leave its core competency and go after Microsoft. They bought DR DOS and Word Perfect and a couple of other smaller interests and tried to put together a challenge. It didn't stick. The consequences are obvious.

Salt Lake City, UT

I was a rep for Microsoft back in the day when we bundled Word with Windows free at the expense of Wordperfect.....We worried when Novell purchased Wordperfect and thought they would do the same....they never did and died as a result! ....Novell channel was the most formidable competitor at one time, too bad....now its Apple turn and because Gates burned Jobs once before, Jobs will return the favor!

kaysville, ut

Funny comments about young, single workers with less outside distractions being the perfect "borg" employee. I was once this type of worker and cringe at how I hated my life. The burn-out rate is high, leaving the once vibrant worker over stressed and at another job.

As a successful manager, I would rather hire a consistent employee with outside interests who will stay on my team for many years. As opposed to the quick Harvard engineer who drinks too much jolt and pops amphetamines like candy.

If your company really needs you to put in an average of 80 hours of work for over a year, you are not an employee my friend; you are a heart attack waiting to happen. Besides, what poor planning of a company to expect employees to put these hours in because of hideous human resource projections. That's who should be fired first!

You can also witness some parents who work 80 hours of week and are essentially ghosts to their children. What is really more important, some code that was shamelessly acquired through sleight of hand, or a vibrant, eternal family?

Ex-Pat of Zion
Lititz, PA

Like Frankenstein's monster, corporations are living (at least in the view of the Supreme Court) but far from human (Kennedy - oops missed that one ... my bad). The double edged sword of "public equity" is that access to capitalism creates absentee owners. At least the small business owner knows who his customer is and understands service is a critical component of survival. Boards care about one thing only and that is share price.

Perhaps those displaced (and I truly feel their pain ... I'm going through it now) may have a little more compassion for those less fortunate if it had been missing from their hearts until now. These are tough times for main street.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT


It's not that I disagree with your philosophical approach. You should "work to live" and not "live to work." But sometimes companies, including these young start-ups (which Novell once was) use this approach. They want you to give your life to the company. They don't care if you have a family, other interests or whether you will burn out. They are about the bottom line.

Right now a lot of companies have cut down to the bare bone outsourcing their jobs to India, which Novell had started long before this last whatever you want to call it (firings, laying off--does it really matter to these employees?) So those few that were left were working these horrible hours whether they wanted to or not and with the added stress of not knowing exactly when the shoe was going to drop knowing that the shoe would eventually drop.

saltlake city, utah

which shoulder do want to cry on..
Best of luck to find another place of employment!

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