Network computing pioneer and former Novell chief executive Ray Noorda has died, aged 82.
Noorda was credited with building Novell, where he became chief executive in 1983, into the key provider of network management software before attempts to take on the might of Microsoft led to a decline in the company’s fortunes.
Noorda retired from Novell in 1995, setting up investment firm the Canopy Group to back start-up companies.
Under Noorda’s leadership, Novell grew from 17 staff to more than 12,000 and launched its Netware networking software on the world.
Noorda is also credited with innovations such as developing the channel structure for software sales and promoting “coopetition” – alliances of competing firms that develop common technology standards in order to boost the overall market for their products.
Noorda’s early life was very different, growing up the son of Dutch immigrants during the depression. He began his working life picking cherries and herding sheep in Utah, before securing an engineering degree at the University of Utah and becoming an electrical engineer with General Electric.
Drew Major, co-founder of Novell, said, “Ray was a great mentor… not only was he respected and appreciated by those who partnered with him but also by those who competed against him. Ray Noorda left a legacy of connecting computers, and people, and companies together.”