Novell Inc. is recovering from its recent struggles through careful execution of a plan for the future, and its executives say the market is responding.

Both Ed McGarr, Novell vice president of product marketing, and Glenn Ricart, chief technology officer, Tuesday continued to hammer home the Orem-based computer networking company's theme for this week's BrainShare '98 conference at the Salt Palace."We're trying to communicate to the market that Novell is where the network is going," McGarr said in an interview with the Deseret News.

Since Eric Schmidt was named chairman and chief executive about a year ago, McGarr said, Novell has renewed its focus.

"I would say we're a niche player, and the niche is the network," he said. "Our success is not dependent on Microsoft (Corp.'s) failure. . . . We're very bullish on the future."

Ricart said the optimistic view is that Novell's comeback will mean higher revenues and, possibly, more hiring. The company already employs more than 4,500 people worldwide, including about 2,800 in Utah County, 800 in San Jose and 200 in India.

"This BrainShare is about restoring credibility with our customers," Ricart said.

He said the company's continued drumbeat of new product releases should sustain excitement about Novell.

"Developer support is a lot better than it's ever been," Ricart said in an interview with the Deseret News. "We're definitely one of the largest turnarounds in the industry. We see that in the financial numbers, and we clearly see that in the buzz."

Novell's stock price is up, several analysts are saying good things and product users seem pleased, he said.

McGarr agreed that the market is responding to Novell's message.

"People are saying, `You're back! You're alive, and we're loving it!' People are just ecstatic about the buzz in the industry about Novell," he said.

McGarr said the positive news about Novell shows in the 30 percent increase in attendance at this year's BrainShare and in the eagerness of software companies to develop products for the NetWare 5 networking platform Novell will release in midyear.

He said people also like news like Tuesday's announcement that Novell is making available a beta, or test, version of its GroupWise 5.5, which helps with the collaboration of corporate networks and intranets.

GroupWise already has almost 11 million users, McGarr said, and its success shows Novell is not a one-product company.

He said Novell also has moved its marketing efforts beyond technical people and more toward company chief executives and product users.

"We are fine-tuning our messages and making sure they get to the eyes and ears of people we previously haven't communicated with," McGarr said.

But he said Novell's turnaround is not complete. Schmidt said it would take two or three years to get the company back on track, McGarr said, and Novell's comeback is right on schedule.

"We are hearing extreme satisfaction and industry support with Eric Schmidt and what he has done with Novell," McGarr said. "We love him at Novell."