That conspiracy theory, while entertaining, is just totally untrue.
The Hula team decided not to go forward with the project because the project wasn't working. It had been nearly two years since we launched Hula and during that time a lot of other people entered the space (Zimbra, Google Calendar, etc) and implemented many of the innovative things that we had planned to do with Hula. This took some of the wind out of our sails, and we had some execution problems too; I don't know if you've noticed, but the project has essentially gone two years without a release, and if you've ever done any significant software development before, you know that's not a sign of a healthy project.
Now, there is some great work in Hula and we sincerely hope that some of it will be useful to the community. The AJAX-based dragonfly web interface for mail and calendar is gorgeous and open source and could be turned into a nice replacement for SquirrelMail or the other web mail/calendar interfaces. The Hula store and the former NetMail agent code are also both open source and other companies are using them now as well.
The guys who worked on this stuff (Jacob Berkman, Peter Teichman, Dave Camp, Cyrus Dolph, Rodney Price, and others) are extremely bright guys, did fabulous work, and really enjoyed the project -- but unfortunately it's one of those things that didn't work out the way everyone hoped. So it goes.
Novell customers of NetMail and GroupWise and other products can rest assured that they are unaffected and will be supported and carried forward -- I'm sure Novell will have things to say about that, so stay tuned.