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Chris Preimesberger - SCO Asked Fluff Questions During Conference Call
Sunday, January 09 2005 @ 07:04 PM EST

This is something I didn't see before. It's a report from IT Manager's Journal's Chris Preimesberger on the last SCO financial teleconference:

"Something I want to mention about this conference call: No hardball questions were asked. SCO Group undoubtedly selected only certain people it expected to ask fluff questions, and fluff questions they got. So we couldn't get to the bottom of these incongruencies. If I were a stockholder, I'd be very angry at this opacity.

"Did yours truly ask a question? I had several lined up:

  • How will the recent sacking of both the CEO and CFO of its parent company, Canopy Group, affect SCO's business strategy? Canopy is SCO Group's largest single stakeholder.
  • How can SCO Group look ahead with optimism, with only $7 million in the bank? It had $64 million in the bank a year ago.
  • How is SCO Group going to look for new business, especially with all its public relations problems? The Unix space is not exactly growing.

"However, I was not called upon during the 38-minute (only about 15 of those were for questions) conference. (Most calls of this kind last about an hour.) All callers are asked to provide their names, affiliations, and phone numbers upon registering, and when asked, I pressed 'Star-1' immediately to get into the queue to ask a question. But no dice."

To be fair, there were, in my opinion, some good questions asked, but for sure it seemed odd that no one asked about the Canopy Group shakeup at all, while some were asking instead questions that SCO must have loved being asked, so they could present their side of things, like how important did they think discovery is to this case, or questions the answers to which were already known, like what the amended complaint they are asking to submit is about.

I thought that only a few reporters had bothered to show up, but evidently that isn't the case. Were any other reporters in attendance who were unable to ask a question?

It seemed odd enough when I assumed there weren't any other reporters in the queue; now that I know at least one reporter was waiting in vain, it seems even more peculiar that Tom Eisenberg had time to ask historical question after question that he could have read up on prior to the call and to search for a sheet with the numbers on it that went out with the press release while we all waited.

Now, I don't fault anyone for asking questions, and it's a valid way to learn, and it could all have been completely innocent. But why didn't the SCO folks at least tell Eisenberg to go get his paperwork in order, if not the due diligence, while they let Preimesberger ask at least one question and then they'd swing back by? Or extend the 15-minute question and answer session by 5 minutes to let everyone ask their questions? Please don't tell me that they don't know how to interact with the media. They surely know how important it is to a reporter to be able to ask his own questions. Instead, they let Eisenberg go on and on and then the questions were simply cut off at 15 minutes, with at least one reporter waiting to ask questions he wasn't allowed to ask.

One SCOX Yahoo poster, mersenne137, says he called Eisenberg, who reportedly said he is a friend of Chuck Royce. You remember Royce. Here's the subpoena [PDF] he got from IBM, indicating an interest on their part in any dealings he might have had with the Canopy Group. Five of the seven items on the list mention Canopy. Whether Mr. Eisenberg and Mr. Royce are friends or not, the whole thing is starting to feel a little peculiar. I can also tell you that when I have called in to a SCO teleconference in the past and signaled I wished to ask a question, I was not called on either. Go figure.

Of course, being me, I thought at the time they just had too many other, more important callers. Now, with this new report, I take it as a sign that I must be doing something exactly right.


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