The thing that killed Netware was the Novell itself.
I think it was CEO Frankenburg who loudly proclaimed on stage at Novell's largest vendor/user conference Brainshare that Netware was NOT an application server it was for File and Print and it would never be an App Server.
Many a vendor in the audience looked completely shocked and the buzz on the show floor completely changed. The CEO effectively killed off the vendors who were already writing apps for the server and forced them to support microsoft's platform instead.
Novell always had great technology, but could never figure out how to MARKET the tech in a sustainable way.