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Novell buys ASP to bolster Web directory efforts

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Novell has plugged a hole in its plans to take its directory services onto the Internet by acquiring JustOn, a provider of Internet hosted file sharing and publishing services. The company's services are to be integrated with Novell Directory Services (NDS) and In-theNet Services products, including caching, directory, identity management and messaging. Novell sees its strength in directories as being a key weapon that will allow it to benefit from the rise of 'any time, anywhere' computing. It has expanded NDS coverage from the core NetWare platform to NT, Solaris, Linux and Tru64, but more intriguingly it has been experimenting with consumer systems that leverage its competence in directories, and that will ultimately put the company into direct competition with Microsoft in consumer markets. Novell is running a Web-based email pilot scheme, Myrealbox, and a far more ambitious identity, credential and relationship management system, digitalme. The latter stores user's passwords, credentials and profiles, and Novell proposes to have the system's users devise "MeCards" which contain specific collections of data needed for specific tasks on the Web - shopping at favourite stores, for example. Schemes of this class are of course generally a privacy nightmare waiting to happen, but they're going to work properly eventually, and Novell probably has one of the better shots at making them work. One of the obvious holes in digitalme, in any event, is application service provision, so the JustOn deal ought to produce considerable synergies. Novell's efforts in the field, although obviously ambitious, have been relatively low-key so far, but it seems there's a major push due this year. According to VP for strategic business Mike Sheridan, "JustOn's technology and expertise will help make file services a core element in the spectrum of In-the-Net Services that will be coming from Novell in 2000." ® Related stories: Digitalme launches

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