Novell began in Provo, Utah as Novell Data Systems Inc. in 1979, a hardware manufacturer producing CP/M based systems. In January 1983, the company’s name was shortened to Novell Inc. Also in 1983, the company introduced its most significant product, the multi-platform network operating system (NOS), Novell NetWare. Novell did extremely well throughout the 1980s, acting aggressively to increase the market initially by selling the expensive Ethernet cards at cost; by 1990, Novell had an almost monopolistic position in NOS for any business requiring a network.
In 1996, the company began a move into internet-enabled products, however, by 1999, Novell had lost its dominant market position, and was continually being out-marketed by Microsoft. In 2003 Novell signalled plans to move its collective product set onto a Linux kernel. In November 2003, Novell acquired SuSE, a developer of a leading Linux distribution, which led to a major shift of power in Linux distributions. The future growth of Novell is largely dependent on how successful the SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) 10 products are in the market place.