There's not a lot positive to say about the 4-1/2-year-old legal saga that's been SCO Group vs. most of the computing world. The various principals have diverted tens of millions of dollars into proceedings that don't serve customers a lick, unless you want to argue that clearing Linux's good name is itself a noble effort worth that expense.
Following the Aug. 10 ruling by a federal court judge gutting most of SCO's two main lawsuits--against Linux champions Novell and, it would seem, IBM--it's time to take stock of what we've learned from this sordid affair, and hopefully start putting it behind us.
Today, SCO is back to calling itself a technology company rather than an IP defender, emphasizing its Mobile Server middleware in addition to its Unix products. But the damage is done. Having given short shrift to its Unix base and having alienated the powerful Linux community, it's plodding along.
SCO's fiscal first-half revenue of just $12 million was down 17% from the year-earlier half and down a whopping 66% from the $34.9 million the company reported for the first half of fiscal 2003, when it launched the IBM suit. As for profitability, SCO's net loss narrowed considerably in the first half of this fiscal year, to $2.2 million, but mainly because it's spending less on lawyers these days. (In the first half of 2003, by comparison, it posted net income of $3.8 million.)
SCO's cash reserves are under further strain following the federal court judge's ruling that the company owes Novell at least some of the money it has collected from its Sun and Microsoft licensing deals. And a week after the judge's ruling, SCO's stock is a candidate (again) for delisting, as the share price has plunged well below Nasdaq's $1 threshold. Rest in peace.
VP/Editor in Chief
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