SCO CEO vows to prevail in court fight against IBM

In forum keynote address, Darl McBride remains confident that his company will win its case

LAS VEGAS -- Darl McBride, CEO and president of The SCO Group Inc., opened the annual SCO Forum conference here today with two key messages -- Unix will not die, and SCO will eventually win its case against IBM.

McBride, who has been running the Lindon, Utah-based Unix company since 2002, told attendees at the MGM Grand hotel and casino that despite all of the criticisms SCO has received in the IT community, the legal battle continues to be the right path for his company and for the software industry.

McBride remained defiant despite continuing industry criticism and attacks against his company since it filed a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against IBM in March 2003.

"I may be wrong on this point, but I doubt it," McBride said, quoting the outspoken former NBA star Charles Barkley.

McBride said he's constantly annoyed by critics who claim that SCO has moved from being an operating system vendor to becoming an intellectual property licensing company. "When people say SCO [is] just a litigation company, it really bugs me," he said.

To prove his point that SCO is back on a path of product growth after years of sitting on its Unix laurels, he said that the company has made substantial progress on the goals it set at last year's SCO Forum. The company has reinvested in its operating systems, announcing new enhanced versions today of UnixWare 7.1.4 and SCOoffice Server 4.1.

Also completed since last year was the rollout of new SCOx Web services offerings to enable legacy applications to be used on the Internet. SCO also accomplished its goal of establishing new partnerships and certifications with hardware vendors to ensure their troublefree use of SCO Unix products. The company certified 127 vendors in the first 60 days, he said.

In addition, he said, the company hit a home run in its goal of aggressively defending SCO's intellectual property in court. "We've obviously overachieved on that objective," he said. "If I had to make this decision [to sue IBM] 10 times over, the decision would be the same one 10 times.

"Big Blue is no doubt a formidable opponent, and we still expect to win," he said.

SCO continues to maintain its legal position that it owns all Unix System V source code through past purchases from Novell Inc. and others. "We're obviously battling on various fronts on that," he said.

SCO's fight against the alleged intellectual property infringements will have a drastic effect on Linux in the future if his company wins, he said. "Wait until the SCO battles are over and let's see if it's free [anymore] or not." McBride has repeatedly said in the past that free software stifles innovation and harms the IT industry because companies can't produce great products without any financial return.

"Keep your eye on the [court] filings," he said. "Over the coming year, one of the things that you're going to see is that Big Blue has got big problems."

This year, the company is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the SCO nameplate. Founded in 1979 in Santa Cruz, Calif., the original SCO, the Santa Cruz Operation, was split up into several units in 2000, with the former Caldera International Inc. buying the Unix products line and the services division and bringing the products into Caldera, which was also promoting its Caldera Linux line. The original SCO kept its Tarantella products unit and went on to rename itself Tarantella Inc., which remains in business. In 2002, after McBride joined Caldera, replacing former CEO Ransom Love, the Caldera name was dropped and the SCO name was resurrected as The SCO Group Inc. as it began to restore its position as a longtime Unix vendor. This is the 17th year for the SCO Forum event.

SCO is looking forward to another 25 years in business, McBride said. "As the head of this company, I can promise you that we will defend Unix and we will continue to see that it has a bright future.

"Financially, we're well prepared for this battle. We plan to be the ones standing after going 15 rounds."

According to SCO, 550 people registered for the event.


Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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