SCO-Microsoft Connection: Boy, Did We Look Dumb

Last week was not my best week for opinion writing. I took the Linux community to task for jumping to conclusions in assuming that SCO is a Microsoft puppet. Then, a few days later, an investment company confirmed that Microsoft helped SCO get $50 million in funding.
Last week was not my best week for opinion writing. I took the Linux community to task for jumping to conclusions. Specifically, I said that many in the Linux community seem to think that SCO's defeat is a foregone conclusion. It's not, I noted - indeed, SCO may well have a strong case.

It's also common wisdom among many on the Linux community that SCO is merely a puppet of Microsoft. But that, too, is not proven. We do know (I said last week) that Microsoft has licensed SCO's technology for $16 million, 21 percent of SCO's 2003 revenue. We know that Microsoft hates Linux and is willing to play dirty. But we don't know that Microsoft is actually behind the SCO lawsuit.

Well, three days later, BayStar Capital, which invested $50 million in the SCO Group, confirmed that Microsoft introduced it to SCO.

That made my editorial look pretty dumb.

Or, actually, not. Nothing has really changed. We knew that Microsoft hates Linux, we knew that they supported SCO by licensing SCO's technology. So now we have learned that they diverted significantly more money SCO's way.

It's like finding out that a bankrobber didn't steal $1.3 million, he stole $1.4 million. Significant information, in a way, but not all that interesting.

And we still don't know that Microsoft is actually controlling the lawsuit, although we do know that Microsoft is supporting it.

Of course, the timing of the disclosure could've been better, from my perspective. It made me look a little silly. I now have to write this editorial explaining that no, really, I was right after all.

But it made SCO look more than just silly. SCO had just finished denying any connection between Microsoft and BayStar funding.

Lawyers and journalists have a phrase to describe this sort of statement. We call it "a big fat honking lie."

(This piece appeared in the Linux Pipeline Newsletter for Tuesday, March 16, 2004. It has been edited for the web.)

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