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Top stories for March 2010

For March, it was all about Novell Inc. in news.

For the month, Novell stories topped the charts -- and probably not in a way the company appreciated. These were not positive stories coming out of the BrainShare conference that Novell resuscitated that month. Instead, they were about the end of mainstream support for Novell's venerable NetWare network operating system (and by extension, the end of Novell's dominance of that market). Two other of the top five stories dealt with the unsolicited (and unwelcome) buyout bid for Novell by a New York-based hedge fund.

Here are the five most-read stories for March 2010.

1: Netware is dead. Long live Netware?
Mainstream support for the venerable NetWare network operating system ended in early March. But that's not to say NetWare is gone. Far from it. Novell and other partners say there is a ton of NetWare out there running seven years after its last major update. One reason? It just always worked and didn't require a lot of hardware. Some folks bemoan that NetWare successors can't make the same claims.

2: Novell VARs worry in wake of proposed buyout
Elliott Associates LLC's $2 billion bid for Novell had Novell and SUSE VARs wondering what was next for Novell Inc. and its SUSE Linux franchise. Novell's board said it would consider the offer.

3: Novell spurns buyout offer
Well, that didn't take long! Within a week of receiving Elliott's surprise buyout offer, Novell's board voted it down, alerting customers in an email message sent early on the Saturday morning before Novell's BrainShare conference.

4: Avnet bids for IT distribution might with Bell Micro buy
Avnet Inc. bought Bell Microproducts Inc. for its two-tier distribution business in what could be a sign of increased consolidation in IT distribution. Avnet execs said they would explore "strategic alternatives" for Bell Micro's single-tier reselling business.

Both Bell Micro of San Jose and Avnet, based in Phoenix, built strong reputations in storage systems. Avnet's Technology Solutions unit sells more than $7 billion worth of tech products and services to VARs in specialized vertical markets.

5: Microsoft pulls plug on midmarket server
Microsoft's move to deep-six its Windows Essential Business Server surprised no one.

Early in March, the company said it would end development of the EBS SKU as of the end of June, basically killing off a bundle of Windows Server, Exchange Server, System Center Essentials, Forefront Security for Exchange and ISA Server that came on the market in November 2008.

It targeted midsized companies with up to 300 users that were too big or had outgrown the 75-seat limit on Microsoft's more popular Small Business Server. Partners and analysts said EBS got little traction since many of the targeted companies already owned licenses to many of the component pieces.

Check out the most-read stories for February 2010.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Barbara Darrow, Senior News Director at or follow us on twitter.

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