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Answering Blake Stowell's Question
Tuesday, December 13 2005 @ 12:35 PM EST

Blake Stowell, SCO's PR guy, is trying to turn all the bad news about SCO around and counter the impression that they are on the skids. In an article in Information Week about the latest money transfusion, he is quoted as saying this:
A SCO representative, however, said the company's legal prospects were excellent and that investors would be well-served by helping the company to persist in its offensive against IBM and others.

"Any open-minded individual who has read all of the public filings and court rulings, and attended every hearing would have a difficult time [casting doubt on SCO's prospects] at this point in the case," said Blake Stowell, SCO's corporate communications director.

"To the contrary," Stowell said, "for those who might see SCO's legal battle not going so well for SCO in the long run, I would be asking myself" 'Why is this case still proceeding? Why hasn't it been dismissed?'"

This is like shooting fish in a barrel, but I feel called on to speak, since Groklaw can absolutely qualify as having read all the public filings and court documents and attending every hearing and we certainly started with an open mind about SCO's legal hopes, as you can see in this early interview, shortly after Groklaw started.

Yet, I have no difficulty at all in casting doubt on SCO's prospects now or in answering his question. Here's why the case is still dragging on, Mr. Stowell. Because Judge Kimball ruled in February that he wouldn't entertain any dispositive motions until discovery is over. And because SCO has sought and obtained a number of delays.

When is discovery over? Here's the schedule, from our IBM Timeline page:

22-Dec-05 - Final Deadline for Parties to Identify with Specificity All Allegedly Misused Material

27-Jan-06 - Close of All Fact Discovery Except As to Defenses to Claims Relating to Allegedly Misused Material

17-Mar-06 - Close of All Remaining Discovery (i.e., Fact Discovery As to Defenses to Any Claim Relating to Allegedly Misused Material)

Expert witnesses still have discovery time to file reports after that until July, but the basic discovery is over in March. After that, I expect to see motions for partial summary judgment, at least. July 28 is the date listed for dispositive motions.

And here's the other part of the answer to his disingenuous question: the US legal system is set up in such a way that if you lodge a claim, if there is any conceivable set of facts and any theory that might in any alternative universe convince a jury, it has to go to a jury. The judge can't dismiss something like that, no matter how tempting. He can only dismiss something that can be decided on facts about which there is no dispute. SCO relies upon that. That doesn't make their ultimate chances any better. It merely makes it annoying for a longer time period for their defendants.

Harrassment litigation is predicated on the defendant being stuck on the hook for a considerable time period, just because it's the way litigation works in the US. That's why legislators are forever trying to come up with a remedy to deal with all the frivolous litigation.

Like Blake doesn't know this.

The article also tells us SCO will release its next financial report on Dec. 21, the day before the deadline to file all claimed allegedly misused materials. Funny timing, that. One might almost get the impression they don't wish to tell us anything about that.

The article is particularly interesting to me because it quotes Rob Enderle, and from what he says, I deduce he is no longer a SCO ally:

Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, had a similar take on the announcement. "Those that have already invested in the company may want to cover their bets and see how the hand plays out," he said. "Things clearly have not gone as SCO intended and they have managed the litigation relatively poorly and alienated, in the process, many who originally supported them."

Investors, Enderle speculated, "are betting IBM will settle out and SCO will get a bunch of cash, and then many of these investors will probably liquidate their holdings on the spike."

Yet SCO's long-term financial picture is far from secure, Enderle said, despite the influx of cash "SCO could still run out of cash as they are currently losing around $14 million a year and they only got $10 million," Enderle stated. ... "In short, I think they are short on cash, and the well is about dry," Enderle said.

Too bad for SCO. IBM isn't going to settle. That's been clear for a long time to anyone with eyes. But did you catch his point about some who originally supported them being alienated? Might that include Enderle, I wondered? If so, it might indicate that his continued unjust attacks on Groklaw are not on SCO's behalf. So who does that leave? He does have at least one well-known client with a pony in this race. Hmm. You think?

By the way, speaking of money and making money from Linux, Red Hat and Google have just been added to the Nasdaq-100 in the latest annual reordering of the 100 largest non-financial stocks on the Nasdaq stock market:

Meanwhile, the addition of Raleigh, North Carolina-based Red Hat reinforces the credentials of the open source Linux operating system on which the company has built its business. A year of solid revenue growth has seen Red Hat's share price rise to $25 from $16 a year ago.

Google built its business on cheap Linux boxes, and that's another way to make money from Linux. Novell has just inked a deal with the Swiss government:

Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) today announced a breakthrough agreement with the Swiss Federal Government that will see the introduction of Novell's enterprise Linux* technology across Switzerland's public sector IT infrastructure. Novell was selected following a formal tender process during which the company conclusively demonstrated it can provide the strongest Linux solution for public sector environments. As a result, more than 3,000 servers operated by the Swiss Federal Government will now run on Novell's SUSE(R) Linux platform. "Linux has been gradually introduced into various government departments in recent years, but this is the first formalized procurement process regarding the introduction of Linux at a federal level," said Jurg Roemer, Delegate for Information Strategy of the Swiss Federal Government. "The agreement we have reached applies to the entire Federal Government and will see the adoption of Novell's SUSE Linux throughout the Swiss federal administration.".

And Darl told you no one can make money from Linux. Funny. People seem to be doing it.

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