Novell Ups The Ante

The Waltham, Mass.-based software vendor said it plans next year to change the name of the entry level in its three-stage PartnerNet program from Authorized to Silver and begin charging participants at that level.

The approximate value of the new benefits that will be made available to Silver partners is $2,000, the company said. No changes will be made to PartnerNet's Platinum or Gold levels.


Some of the changes to Novell's new Silver PartnerNet level include:


>> Novell logo can be placed on partner's Web site.
>> Partners will receive a 10 percent discount on technical support.
>> Partners will have access to Novell's Software Evaluation and Development Library, which gives them limited, trial licenses for offerings such as NetWare, GroupWise, ZenWorks and Suse Linux.
>> Partners will have the opportunity for lead exchange based on availability.

Solution providers will be charged a $295 annual program fee for Silver partner membership. Having at least one Certified Novell Salesperson (CNS) on staff is also a new requirement for Silver partners, according to Novell.

"The Authorized level [partners] got pretty much nothing, but there was no cost involved," said one Novell partner who declined to be named. The partner, recently notified of the changes, said he thinks Novell will benefit more than the company's solution providers. "Now you need to be a CNS for Silver and also pay $295, whereas before it was free," the partner said.

Sponsored post

An added perk for Silver partners, however, is access to Novell's Software Evaluation and Development Library, according to one partner. The library gives partners limited, trial licenses for Novell offerings such as NetWare, GroupWise, ZenWorks and Suse Linux products.

"The one real benefit you get at the Silver level is their software evaluation library with one-year licenses for NetWare and the Small Business Suite and GroupWise, but most of the rest of the useful products are 90-day time-bombed evaluations," said the partner.

Silver partners also receive a $295 discount on Novell's annual BrainShare partner show, according to Novell.

Access to the company's co-marketing collateral builder program costs Silver partners an extra $300 per year. The collateral program is free to Platinum and Gold partners, the company said.

A Novell spokesperson said any partner currently at the Authorized level that does not want to commit to the Silver level can still be part of Novell's channel community and get regular PartnerNet news.

Jordan Rosen, president of the Lille Group, an Albany, N.Y.-based Novell partner and a member of the vendor's channel advisory board, said he was notified last week about the program changes.

"The changes will help generate the specialized expertise that Novell is looking for in its partners," said Rosen.

The changes to PartnerNet come as Novell is seeking to transform itself into a more Linux-oriented vendor to offset ailing sales of its flagship product, NetWare.

Novell expects to increase its R&D spending in 2005 to try to engineer products such as ZenWorks to be more attractive to non-NetWare customers. Novell also plans to develop more channel-friendly products for the SMB market, the company said.