Employees say hundreds laid off at Novell's Provo office

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  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 4, 2011 2:07 p.m.

    I am not sure Novell did anything more wrong then many of the other early companies did. The list of extinct companies is long and deep - Tandem, Sun, DEV, Compaq, WordStar, WordPerfect, Lotus, Ashton-Tate, Peoplesoft, Lawson, BusinesObjects, Next, 3Com, Nortel, EDS.... the list goes on for ever. It is just part of the natural evolution.

    Why did Novell fail when RedHat thrived? I don't think it was any one, two or even three things. In fact, Novell lived longer than many of them. So some credit has to be given to the management and staff who kept things alive much longer.

    If you want to see a disaster in Utah Valley management, look at the old SCO group. They managed to drive every last cent of value out of that company - which at one time was a thriving enterprise.

    No, at least someone wanted what was left of Novell... there was still value there. The same can't be said for all the lost names of high tech.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    May 4, 2011 6:26 a.m.

    I suspect the open source movement had more effect on Novell's core competencies than anything Microsoft ever did. The leadership at Novell completely underestimated the spread of the internet, they tried to keep it proprietary, when everything became free--and they didn't innovate like Google/Amazon/Facebook, none of which base their companies on things like Microsoft (and yet they make Microsoft nervous).

  • Sqweebie Salt Lake City, UT
    May 3, 2011 8:02 p.m.

    To 10cc and Seer - the problem is that many employers do age discriminate - refuse to hire people over the age of 30 because they have the outside commitments - children who get sick, church jobs and a life outside of work.

    I am an empty nester and I can't get a job - because I am over 30. I have bills such as rent, student loans, credit cards, medical bills to pay. Look around the employment offices and you will find that most of them looking for work are the over 30. We happen to be the best workers because we need the money more unlike a 20 something who after 3 months is whining "I'm not coming in today and I might quit because I don't understand what is expected of me." Heard this one on the bus from a young lady.

    The age discrimination in Employment act was passed in 1967 making it illegal to refuse to hire anyone over the age of 40. Oh and I do have a friend that worked for Novell

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    May 3, 2011 4:55 p.m.

    Novell should have never ....

    1. built the high rise building. Too expensive and not needed. At the time they built it they had other buildings unoccupied.
    2. appointed CEO's from outside of Utah. Most of these characters only came to collect some big cash and move on.
    3. bought the galaxy of companies over the years most of which never panned out and only de-railed the company.

    Novell should have.....

    1. Stayed with local people for the CEO on down .... much like Micron.
    2. Never overhired during good times and then forcing layoffs during lean times. This practice could of and should of been avoided.
    3. Not over built the Provo campus.

  • altahoops Provo, UT
    May 3, 2011 4:21 p.m.

    It's not like this was a surprise for anyone at Novell. They have been aware that this was coming as soon as the buy-out was announced. Also, Novell employees have been conditioned to accept layoffs. It has been a way of life there since the WordPerfect merger.

    I worked for Novell for 17 years. Aside from constantly worrying about the longevity of your job, Novell treated it's employees pretty well. I have no complaints. I went through a layoff there when my whole group was RIFed. At first it was very harrowing. When you work for a large company like Novell, you start to think they are the only show in town. I was laid off on a Friday, started work with a new company on Monday, and pocketed 6 months of severance pay. A year later, I was hired back, for $15k more than when I left, worked another 7 years for them, then left for a much better opportunity. Much nicer to walk out the door by your own choosing.

    Bottom Line: Lots of great opportunities out there. Novell isn't the only show in town.

  • Zadruga Guy West Jordan, UT
    May 3, 2011 2:04 p.m.

    For those who will be job hunting, there are a number of companies in Utah County that have open tech and corporate services positions, including the company I work for, Ancestry.com. We have been growing rapidly the last five years.

  • Conservative Cedar City, UT
    May 3, 2011 1:15 p.m.

    to 10CC: A few of your comments:

    "I had a family and was used to being a productivity leader in my company, not below average."

    "single workaholics"

    "individuals with little to no family obligations"

    "The good people in Provo & Orem who were fathers & mothers, scoutmasters and church leaders didn't stand a chance"

    "They were also usually single or without children."

    Wow! Sounds like you have an ATTITUDE! and too much PRIDE! and a STIFF NECK!

    The real reasons why companys are downsizing, rightsizing, mergings, etc. isn't to get rid of a perfect LDS fellow like yourself. It's because of the recession. And during a recession we all have to work harder to keep our jobs. And longer hours, too.

    Don't blame the single 20-somethings.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    May 3, 2011 1:05 p.m.

    I worked at Novell for 17 years and loved the company. Yes there were the layoffs - usually twice a year at least - but all in all Novell had great middle and front line management (in my opinion) and a great working environment. I am sad to here of this layoff - 800 is huge - and I have to wonder if Provo really lost that many. Hopefully going forward, the new company can regain its footing and the Provo facility can slowly add head count and products.

  • hymn to the silent Holladay, UT
    May 3, 2011 1:00 p.m.

    Folks...blaming the work habits of somebody else for your own demise is juvenile. There's always a way to find the balance between family and work...and those that have a balanced life, single or married make the best employees. Successful people get better and faster at what they do, and they don't blame some nebulous force of nature when they lose their jobs...they simply reinvent themselves to suit their values.

  • shakespeare's fool Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 3, 2011 12:09 p.m.

    My sympathies and prayers go out to those who lost their jobs. I hope you soon find a new job that you love and that replaces the income you just lost.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    May 3, 2011 11:22 a.m.

    Let's check the facts here.

    Jobs being lost during this "recession" are mostly in the middle of the payscale. Managers, computer programmers, bank agents, teachers, sales reps, etc. They offered 9-5 hours and good benefits.

    Jobs being added during the "recovery" are mostly at the bottom of the payscale. Fast food cooks, cashiers, gas station attendants and the like.

    It's a big shift towards the bottom and just another blow in the war against the Middle Class. Another 5 years of this and median household income will fall below $35,000/yr.

    Above all else, this is the issue we need to be addressing. The average American is getting poorer every year. Soon we won't be able to afford more than the essentials, which will only lead to more job loss, as consumer spending is still the #1 driving force of our economy.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    May 3, 2011 10:46 a.m.

    I work for Boeing. At one time Boeing produced its own jet engines (now Pratt and Whitney) and owned its own airline (now United Air Lines). Boeing was forced to spin off these two units. Boeing today only manufactures air frames.

    Microsoft put a lot of good companies out of business by predatory practices.
    One small company had a nice data compression utility. Microsoft went to them and offered to buy their company for ten cents on the dollar. If they did not accept the offer, Microsoft threatened to write their own utility, include it in their operating system for free; thus, eliminating the market.

    Software companies should be forbidden from publishing both applications and operating system. They should have to choose one or the other. Novel's Netware had their market eliminated when Microsoft included networking software in their operating system.

    Publishers of operating systems have a significant and unfair advantage over all other competitors. The playing field needs to be leveled.

  • LDS Aerospace Engineer Farmington, UT
    May 3, 2011 10:45 a.m.

    ...and thousands of Rocket Scientists laid-off at ATK.

    In other news -- In-N-Out burger is now open in Centerville.....

  • Z South Jordan, UT
    May 3, 2011 10:23 a.m.

    The story of Novell and WordPerfect is not new, nor is it unique. And if you think that the engineers at either of those companies didn't feel the same kind of performance pressure that other technology engineers have dealt with at other companies, then I have a bridge over Utah Lake I would like to sell you.

    The brutal truth is that the tech industry is highly competetive, and always changing. You can be top dog in your field this year, and on the trash heap in a year or two if you don't continue to innovate, or if you make the wrong decisions. In the case of both WordPerfect and Novell, there were some wrong turns and bad decisions that eventually multiplied into company killers.

  • Captain Kirk Lehi, UT
    May 3, 2011 10:05 a.m.


    I doubt that the downfall of Novell and WordPerfect had much to do with the competitive nature and hours worked by the employees.

    The problem was leadership.
    Novell and WP were completely outmaneuvered by Microsoft's leadership and business strategy ... not by the work of the rank and file.

    There were plenty of good ideas and work being put out by the employees at Novell but the leadership did not know how to take advantage of it.

    Kind of reminds me of Xerox. Xerox always had very smart people and great technology but could never really capitalize on much of it.

  • mountain man Salt Lake City, UT
    May 3, 2011 8:39 a.m.

    If you have a job....be grateful for it. There was a time when working for Novell was the pinnacle of success. The same could be said for word perfect.
    Change. It is the only constant that seems to never go away. My grandfather worked his entire career at one place. The Newspaper. What made it possible?
    Computers had not been invented. Today, I don't think there is a newspaper employee alive who doesn't feel like each day could be his last day....because of this...the internet. good luck...to all affected by this. Doors will open!

  • gizmo33 St. George, Utah
    May 3, 2011 8:38 a.m.

    all those layoffs hmmmmm can you say outsourcing ?

  • Where's Stockton ??? Bowling Green, OH
    May 3, 2011 7:18 a.m.

    @Moderate...and had you paid attention somewhere in your span of education...you'd relize that mergers do impact economic conditions and most generally are done because of economic conditions either to positively or negatively change courses for the companies envolved...You can't blanket a merger as not related to economic conditions. You are totally short on the uptake with such a shortsighted and narrowly naive simplistic response.

  • RyanW Bountiful, UT
    May 3, 2011 6:55 a.m.

    While this is terrible news, I'm confused at why this is news and when Comcast laid-off 95% of their call center only to go on hiring binge the next week to claim the $2000/person tax credit so that they could make $800,000 off of ruining the lives of 400 people, no one said anything.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 3, 2011 5:58 a.m.

    dBase didn't go down because of Microsoft.... Ashton-Tate was actually business partners with Microsoft at the time, was co-developer of then Microsoft/Ashton-Tate SQL Server. I know, I was part of the product management team at the time. It was silver parachutes, a really bad release of dBase (4.1), and Borland that ran what was an outstanding company into the ground. Quality mattered, and we messed up, big.

    But that just goes to show how complex the industry is. I agree with all the comments above about how savage the industry was in the 80's and 90's. I rode the wave with the best of them. My resume has the names of the best of them on it. I made a ton of money in the process - it was good for me.

    But like many, I burned out, and found out that no matter how much I made, it didn't change much. I took one downturn to try something else, and it has worked out beautifully. To those that just lost their jobs, look at this as an opportunity to get doing what you really want to do.

  • L Central, Utah
    May 3, 2011 12:48 a.m.

    "TRUTH | 7:53 p.m. May 2, 2011
    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!"

    Not only was Word Perfect (which I still use) a victim of Microsoft's aggressive marketing ... ever hear of things like dBase. Our company took the hit too with a business product that sold for $498. Microft sold theirs fo $98 until they had ruined the competition --- then they upped it.

    We had documentation in our package that cost us $75 so there was no way to sell for $98 even though several evaluations said it was better.

    Who knows who will be strong tomorrow or who will be gone.

  • Anon 64 Oahu, HI
    May 2, 2011 11:58 p.m.

    Theres a Teachers Shortage in Hawaii and you can get a repo house at a good price.

    Where one soor closes another opens.

  • awsomeron1 Oahu, HI
    May 2, 2011 11:56 p.m.

    This is just the ebb and flow of business and the worker, be it be it Lumberman, Miner or White Collar has No control over his/her fate.

    Not long ago two Car Parts Chains Merged and thousands of people lost their jobs.

    The Honolulu Advertiser was bought out by the Star Bullain (that lost a customer).

    One TV Station bought out another and there are unployed Barbies and Kens all over the place. Its business.

    I have a friend who has a degree in Communications, Works Security at Target.

    Left the Degree Off her App sso she would be over qualified.

    Nows the Time to Check your years supply.

    This is America we have Unemployment, WIC, EBT, Section 8, Student Loans, etc. Most people get through it.

    Good luck to All.

  • awsomeron1 Oahu, HI
    May 2, 2011 11:21 p.m.

    Sorry about the people who lost their jobs in nonretail closed on Sunday Work, Its the start of a slide down a slope.

    For the Paycheck to Paycheck People the slop is steep and quick.

    It will damage or destroy familys and teat faith.

    I know some people would love to go back, evan for less wages and Bennies.

    The people it hurts worse is the older workers. We wish everyone well.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2011 11:19 p.m.


    Excellent points, but be assured that there are plenty of highly competitive and profitable "family friendly" technology companies in Utah. I have worked in software development since 1993 and have had to work more than 40 hours only rarely - maybe only a few weeks of the year. Granted, we should not get complacent, but putting in tons of hours does not make an organization much more effective - in fact, too much work and not enough life balance can hurt innovation, productivity, and employee morale. It isn't worth it. Tons of overtime and weekend work in technology is the biggest over-hyped, over-rated nonsense. EVERY project I have seen that demanded much more than 40 hours has not fared well in the market. Employees leave, have little heart for their project etc.

  • skylinestar saltlake city, utah
    May 2, 2011 10:43 p.m.

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

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    May 2, 2011 9:09 p.m.


    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.

  • Ex-Pat of Zion Lititz, PA
    May 2, 2011 9:06 p.m.

    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.

  • seer kaysville, ut
    May 2, 2011 7:54 p.m.

    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?

  • TRUTH Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2011 7:53 p.m.

    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!

  • Walt Nicholes Orem, UT
    May 2, 2011 6:50 p.m.

    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.

  • eagle Provo, UT
    May 2, 2011 6:00 p.m.

    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)...

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    May 2, 2011 5:55 p.m.


    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.

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2011 5:32 p.m.

    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.

  • MenaceToSociety Draper, UT
    May 2, 2011 5:11 p.m.

    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.

  • Bountiful Democrat Bountiful, UT
    May 2, 2011 4:56 p.m.

    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...

  • Pavalova Surfers Paradise, AU
    May 2, 2011 3:51 p.m.

    @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".

  • unaffiliated_person Saratoga Springs, UT
    May 2, 2011 3:51 p.m.

    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.

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    May 2, 2011 3:47 p.m.

    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).

  • hedgehog Ann Arbor, MI
    May 2, 2011 3:27 p.m.

    I thought Novell went the way of the typewritter.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    May 2, 2011 3:21 p.m.

    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.

  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    May 2, 2011 2:57 p.m.

    "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.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    May 2, 2011 2:53 p.m.

    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.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 2, 2011 2:06 p.m.

    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.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    May 2, 2011 2:01 p.m.

    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.