to Cyreenik book index

Novell’s ROW “Rest of World” Operations

Other world markets did not receive the same attention as Europe. Yet progress was made in these areas.

John Harris was a key player in all international operations. He joined Novell in 1984 and by 1986 was working as International Distributor Manager, a job which took him around the world. By 1987 he was serving as Director of International Sales, and by 1988 he was responsible for all Novell sales in Canada, Asia, and South America. In June 1987, Clifton Ashley was named Director of Regional Sales for Latin America.

Another key player in the growth of Novell’s Asian and Pacific Rim market was Andrew Lai, who joined Novell in May 1984. He undertook the unenviable task of developing Novell business in Asia—from company headquarters in Orem! Ray would not authorize an Asian office for Novell until 1987, when Andrew opened the regional headquarters in Hong Kong in July. His region included 15 different countries about 10,000 miles from Utah, with a time difference of 14 to 15 hours.

Yet Andrew accomplished a great deal during the three years he was based in Utah. Like his counterparts in Europe, he relied heavily on distributors for customer training, sales and tech support, and sponsorship of seminars. For example, a seminar held in May 1985, dubbed “Brainstorm ’85”, was hosted by Advanced Computing Resources, Novell’s Hong Kong distributor. Andrew assembled a program of three other American speakers besides himself and attracted about 100 end users to the event. In October 1986, he put together a two-day Pacific Region Distributor conference in Hong Kong, again with sponsorship by a Novell distributor, and he delivered none other than Ray as the keynote speaker.

By the end of 1985, Andrew had signed up 11 distributors in the Pacific region. With the opening of the Hong Kong office in July 1987, Andrew was able to increase his sales and technical support, educational offerings, trade show presence, advertising, and other local promotions. By the end of 1988, four years after Andrew started, Novell commanded an estimated 90% of the LAN operating systems market in Taiwan and at least 70% of the market in the rest of the Pacific region.

In an interview at the end of 1988, Andrew recalled, “We spent most of that first year just finding resellers and doing very little business. I am still looking for good resellers, but we have certainly developed the business.”

In many areas of the world where Novell decided it could not afford to maintain a large corporate presence, the distributors became the principal company representatives. As late as 1989, this was still the case in the Pacific region.

“Most of our distributors look at themselves almost as being Novell, and they are the source of everything from top to bottom,” Andrew said then. “Novell doesn’t sell anything direct in this region so our barebones headquarters operation has the role of support.”

For all of Novell’s success in the Pacific region, Japan remained virtually closed to NetWare through the 1980s. In 1990, Novell established Novell Japan, Ltd., a joint venture with Canon, Fujitsu, NEC, Sony, and Toshiba, that sold NetWare products in Japan.[Footnote 1]

Footnote 1:

to Cyreenik book index