The Novell set of rumors are very interesting and I can just not resist the urge to speculate myself about how this ordeal will end.
There is an almost unanimous opinion that the SUSE business is a candy that several of the big platform vendors like VMware and HP will be happy to consume. The other almost uniform opinion is that the rest of the Novell business is “dead”.
As part of this “dead” business there is the hidden Identity Management business unit. The identity management business is relatively mature and is relatively comprehensive. It includes the legacy eDirectory brand but also other products like Identity Manager, Sentinel, SecureLogin and Access Manager. These products are reasonably strong in terms of their technology but are trending down in terms of momentum and execution. One could assume that the business success could have been a lot different if not the several years long corporate uncertainty. Despite this, the business unit continues to push forward. Recent initiative with Verizon Business around Identity Management-as-a-Service is an example of how this group continues to innovate even under these challenging conditions.
In the recent quarter report the revenue of the Identity Management business unit was at the $32 millions mark and contributed to about 16% of the total Novell revenue for the quarter (and not too far from the SUSE business). In a yearly estimate this is still a business of $120 millions. Not huge but not dead. The dark side obviously is that year over year the revenue is declining, but back to the corporate uncertainty who can blame them. Almost all Novell is in declining mode these days. So clearly, the Identity Management business is still a live and should be worth something.
A potential buyer that knows how to approach this market can turn this business into a jam in a very rapid time frame. Let’s speculate for a moment – What if HP bought this group to augment the recent ArcSight acquisition, or what if VMware bought this group to augment the recent TriCipher or what if Symantec makes the move and finally get into the identity management space and there are several other companies that this business may attract. Overall, I will not be surprised if Novell will find a good home for this business unit. This new home may be a different home from the SUSE business or the NetWare home. And they may make some extra bucks on the way as well.