Novell to Los Angeles: Drop Dead!

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This must be a joke: A Novell corporate blog item that chastises the City of Los Angeles for recently selecting Google Apps to replace Novell's GroupWise e-mail and calendaring software.

Alas, the PR blog post is very real. And while Novell may (and probably does) have a valid point, how many customers do you think would be happy to see their company mentioned like this on a vendor's Web site?

"Like the LA Police department and others, we continue to doubt the economics and security of the City's decision to move to a Google system. The City Council was presented with clear evidence that Google posed a very significant risk to the security of City and citizen data, much of it highly confidential. In addition, independent financial data showed that the new system will actually cost more, not less.

"With the City facing a massive budget deficit, the speculated budget benefits of switching to this untested application are enticing, but as a recent independent Los Angeles City Administrative Officer report has stated, the proposed system under consideration will actually cost taxpayers an additional $1.5 million in the first year. There are significant costs to migrating, training and securing Google Apps ."

And if that wasn't damning enough, Novell tries for a zinger on the way out:

"The City of Los Angeles should have opted for this proven product to ensure the security of its data and to save taxpayer money. They have taken a risk with no reward. However, as a valued customer, Novell will continue to offer our world-class support to the City of Los Angeles during the transition."

Sure they will.

Perhaps the most important part of Novell's rant is where it says, "Over 1,200 US agencies use the product, including 47 of the 50 US states."

How many of those CIOs do you think are looking for a graceful way to bail on Novell ASAP, lest they find themselves in the company's crosshairs when change finally comes? If this is Novell's idea of public relations, never mind, it's hopeless.

David Coursey tweets as @techinciter and can be contacted via his Web site. Thanks to CNET for bringing this story to my attention.

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