Novell Inc. employees waiting for word about layoffs will hear one way or another in a few days, said a company spokeswoman Tuesday.

The Provo, Utah-based software company has committed to reducing operating costs in the 2001 fiscal year, said Shannon Shupe, a Novell spokeswoman. Battling diminished profitability from fierce competition with Microsoft Corp., IBM Corp., and other software companies, analysts have predicted layoffs of up to 25 per cent of the 5,500 employee work force.

She said to expect an announcement “some time in the next few days,” but declined to confirm or deny the possibility of layoffs.

Technology analysts expect layoffs will be part of the announcement.

“Some type of layoff seems appropriate. They haven’t met analysts’ (financial) expectations for two quarters in a row,” said Neil MacDonald, vice-president and research director for the technology market research company Gartner Group Inc., in Stamford, Conn.

MacDonald said he didn’t believe personnel cuts would be good for Novell in the long term. “You can’t grow by cutting. It would look like Novell as a company isn’t confident that they know where they are going to grow,” he said, adding, “It has a serious effect on morale, and like any high-tech company they need to worry about attracting good personnel.”

Novell, in Provo, Utah, can be reached at

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