mistakes bite hard
There is no doubt that Novell made a number of mistakes.
One such mistake was not suing Microsoft for antitrust when it first began to bundle networking technology with the Microsoft OS.
Number one Networking technology should never be bundled with a given OS. In fact it can not be. Technically networking technology is use to communicate bwteen multiple systems and no where does that suggest that both system should be the same OS. In reality, lan communications should be just like the Internet. Simply put, no assumptions can be made about the OS running at the server or even on the client. As soon as you do that, you restrict the utility.
When Microsoft bundled their networking technology with the OS, Novell should have sued Microsoft to make certain the products remain separate. Everyone today still suffers from that lack of a decision on their part. Sure you can put Samba on Linux. And Microsoft puts their SMB on their OS. But, it would be a much better solution if consumers could pick and choose between several networking technologies that are readily available on all platforms. Networking by its very nature should be completely cross platform. And it is not because of Microsoft. And Novell for that matter.
Instead of suing Microsoft Novell just got Microsoft in include its client licenses on Microsoft platforms. But, that was not enough. It permitted Novell's Netware to work with Microsoft clients but it did nothing to allow Novell technology to replace Microsoft technology. And you only find real competition if products can substitute for each other. Without substitutes one technology will fade away.
The result is Microsoft's domination in server/client technology. Microsoft could do without Novell. But, Novell could never do without Microsoft. So Novell goes away. Slowly but surely. No substitution was possible.
The browser market went away due to illegal Microsoft practices. So too has the networking marketplace. No alternatives exist for networking on a group of Microsoft systems. None. And the EU Commission wonders how they can break up the monopoly on business servers. It won't break until networking technology is unbundled from the OS and consumers have a choice of Samba, Microsoft or NFS. And there is no way SAMBA or NFS can replace Microsoft networking technology as long as all consumers have to buy the Microsoft crap. It is the same as the browser market. As long as Microsoft illegally bundles separate products no alternative products will ever have a fair and open marketplace. And they do not. No browsers. No alternative networking. And that is true even though the entrie industry including all consumers would benefit from fair and open markets in those two technologies.
If you want fair and open markets you have to prevent illegal product bundling. Microsoft knows for certain that their monopoly is safe for as long as the so called authorities fail to figure that out.
Just because you think you need networking or you think you need a browser is absolutely no reason you should have to buy that technology from the OS vendor. Of course, Microsoft thinks otherwise because they do not want any competition and they do not want to have to sell or market their crap. That costs money. It is much easier to just violate the law and lie to consumers. So far the US DOJ and the EU Commission have been bought off. Either that or they can not think straight. Maybe they do not understand how Microsoft controls markets illegally. It might be they are that dumb. Or, they are just controlled policially or by money. But, neither one represents consumers or the industry.