Monday, October 09, 2006

Uncle Ray Noorda dead at 82

Ray Noorda, the visionary of Novell in the Late 80's and early 90's passed away today at the age of 82 at his home in Orem, Utah.

Ray Noorda led Novell Inc. as CEO from 1983 to 1995 and was a leader in the world of computer networking.

Noorda was widely recognized as the "Father of Network Computing" for his vision of what technology would do to tie together business computing around the world, according to Canopy.

At Novell we knew Mr Noorda as "Uncle Ray". I had an opportunity to meet with Uncle Ray many times at Novell. When I was a new employee in 1990 I was staying late one evening and Ray Noorda came walking through my office looking for his son, Andy, but stopped to talk with me. I didn't know that was Ray at the time and I had a nice conversation with him. Later Andy Noorda was my supervisor. When I first received my CNE certification in 1991, Ray Noorda himself showed up to present me with a CNE Jacket and gave me a hug. (It helped to be working with his son, Andy.)

Ray Noorda was a millionare, but you wouldn't know it. He had a small office with no windows and still drove his old Ford Pickup. He was a man of integrity. I sure do miss those days - they were a lot of fun!

Ray Noorda tried to compete head to head with Microsoft in 1994 by merging Novell with WordPerfect Corporation and buying Borland Paradox. While Novell was focusing on the Application Suite and taking it's eye off Novell's Leading networking products, Microsoft was able to creep in and better it's Networking Products.

Drew Major, a co-founder of Novell, said in a statement that Noorda was "a great mentor to all of his employees and gave us all opportunities to grow. With his integrity, he built a trust and a bond in the early Novell years that empowered us together to go out and change the world. 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."

Ray Noorda later headed up the Canopy Group as a Utah Venture Capitalist company.

We'll miss you Uncle Ray

1 comment:

Bucky said...

"The technology industry is famous for the rapid rise and fall of trends and personalities, but there are a few clear moments in the
history of technology that everybody recognizes were truly game changing. Ray Noorda's embrace and promotion of networking was one such moment. His focus and tenacity in making Novell a leader in the networking business served as a model for many of the technology companies that followed. People can today effortlessly share files, exchange emails and print across networks - the core things most people do on their computers day in and day out - thanks in no small part to Ray. Novell is proud of his legacy and honored to continue his commitment as a positive force for innovation."

- Ron Hovsepian, President and CEO of Novell.

An excerpt from chat that tells a lot about Ray ...

" A sad day, especially for those of us who knew him well.

He had money coming out his ears, yet he lived his whole life in a
small house in a regular neighborhood in Orem Utah. All the time I knew him at Novell, he drove an old 198something pickup truck to/from work.
When he had the Provo campus of Novell built, he instructed that his
office was to be the same size as every other office in the complex,
and it was. One year we had a company party at a water park in Provo.
My wife and I were tired and were sitting on the grass against the
parimeter fence. Ray and his wife came along and sat down beside us
and just chatted for about 20 minutes. I can't imagine that happening with a CEO these days. If Ray was in the building and heard a phone ringing without being answered, he would run and enter the office and answer the phone himself. He made jobs at Novell for people,
especially some handicapped people I know. Sure, he made a few mistakes along the road but a lot of those can be partially blamed on his board of directors, but he was an amazing human being. There needs to be more people on the earth like him. He will be missed. "