Hoping to seed the small business market, Novell is giving away - yes, giving away - copies of NetWare for Small Business 4.2.
Novell is making the five-user offer, worth $2500 to customers, available through ISVs like Attache, Arrow Research, ACCPAC and Minfos.
"We find in the small business arena, the platform is often bound tightly to the choice of application," said Novell's Australian managing director Cliff Smith.
However, the offer is also being made to Novell's NetPartner resellers who have a small business focus.
"This really gives our partners additional value to put before their customers," Smith said.
Smith claimed resellers would not sulk about missing out on software margins, because the free software offer opened up services opportunities.
"We're finding the channel is increasingly moving towards services being their primary profit generator," Smith said. "This is another opportunity to fast-track a service opportunity."
In particular, this offer could "encourage" small business to immediately upgrade their systems to ensure they are Y2K compliant, Smith said. "Small businesses are going to rush for the door in the last three to six months to make their systems Y2K compliant. Anything that brings that Y2K opportunity forward is great, because there is likely to be an even greater skills shortage and resellers will not be able to cope with the demand."
The offer is an experiment being trialled only in Australia and New Zealand. The success of this offer, which will run until June 30, is likely to influence any similar promotions in the future, Smith said.
Indeed, reports from the US have suggested that Novell is currently contemplating giving away NDS for NT, to embed that product into the market before Microsoft releases Windows 2000 and Active Directory.