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A Change in SCO's Self-Description - Pruning the Puffery?
Friday, September 01 2006 @ 03:41 PM EDT

This seems worth noting, given that our goal is to record all details of the SCO saga in Groklaw's living history litigation project. I don't know what it means, if anything, but it is something I haven't seen before. SCO appears to be pruning some of the puffery in its press releases.

SCO has an intriguing new description of the company in a press release on Yahoo! announcing the 3d quarter conference call on Sep 6, 2006. Normally, SCO calls itself "a leading provider of UNIX software technology" or words to that effect, and in fact on Wednesday, that is what another press release said, adding that the company was a leading provider of "mobile services". I haven't seen any evidence of that being so. In any case, the new press release says merely that "The SCO Group, Inc. provides UNIX-based products and services." They don't call themselves a leading Unix provider.

That seems to match reality. Take a look at IDC's recent report on the server market. The leading provider worldwide in terms of revenue is IBM. Then HP is second, and then Sun. As for Unix, take a look at this IT Jungle analysis:

In terms of platforms, the Unix server market declined by 1.6 percent to $4.3 billion and unit shipments of Unix boxes declined by 1.8 percent to 166,000 units. But, Unix still edged out Windows as the dominant platform--if only by a smidgen. The volume segment of the Unix server market--driven by Sun's revival of Solaris on both Sparc and X64 platforms, HP's aggressive marketing of Integrity systems and its HP-UX operating system, and IBM's continuing price/performance improvements in its System p5-AIX platform, helped bolster Unix sales. If IBM, HP, and Sun were not delayed with their product rollouts and processors in the Unix space, it is reasonable to guess that Unix would have done a lot better. But Power5+, UltraSparc-IV+ and Opteron, and dual-core Itanium 9000 processors will all be shipping in the IBM, Sun, and HP Unix product lines in the third quarter, and Unix should see an uptick.

Well, well. A Unix uptick, with IBM aggressively selling AIX and doing fine. And here SCO told the court that IBM donated code to Linux to try to destroy the Unix market. How ironic. That should complicate SCO's pathway to riches.

I think these figures, assuming they are accurate, may come into play in the damages phase of the SCO v. IBM litigation, as well as in Red Hat. If the purpose of the IBM lawsuit was to depress Linux uptake and boost Microsoft in the server market, as some have said, did it work?:

The Windows platform, which has been jockeying for dominance with Unix for the past several years in the server market, accounted for $4.2 billion in sales in the second quarter, according to IDC, and increase of 3.1 percent....

Somewhat surprisingly, Linux seems to be running out of steam a little. After nearly four years of double-digit revenue growth, the Linux server sub-market accounted for only $1.5 billion in sales in the second quarter of 2006, an increase of only 6.1 percent.

Linux is still increasing, but could it be that SCO's media trash talk in fact did depress growth, in favor of Microsoft? That is what all those experts will have to sort out, and that's not what IT Jungle or IDC trace it to, but if it did, the damages phase is designed to redress any harm done. Here's the full "About SCO" section in the new press release:

The SCO Group, Inc. provides UNIX-based products and services. Its products include OpenServer and UnixWare. The company’s OpenServer supports multiuser, transaction and business applications, communications gateways, and mail and messaging servers in both host and client/server environments. Its UnixWare is a deployment platform for industry standard Intel processor systems. The company’s other services include software development and programming, migration tools and services, and assisting customers with modernizing and integrating legacy applications with Web services. It assists end-user customers and solution providers in planning, creating, implementing, and deploying business application solutions. The SCO Group sells its UNIX software products to small-to-medium sized businesses and franchisees or branch offices of Fortune 1000 businesses; and original equipment manufacturers. The company’s products are sold through distributors and independent solution providers. The SCO Group was co-founded by Doug Michels and Larry Michels in 1979. It was formerly known as Caldera International, Inc. and changed its name to The SCO Group, Inc. in 2003. The company is headquartered in Lindon, Utah.

I know. They are not, from all I know, the orginal Santa Cruz Operation (SCO), started by Doug Michels and Larry Michels in 1979. That company changed its name to Tarantella and eventually got bought by Sun Microsystems. That's the way I heard it, and Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells already ruled that there was not a complete transfer of assets to Caldera in the oldSCO-Caldera asset transfer. But where is the Me Inc. puffery in the new press release?

Here's the full description in Wednesday's press release:

The SCO Group (Nasdaq: SCOX - News) is a leading provider of UNIX software technology and mobile services, offering SCO OpenServer for small to medium business, UnixWare for enterprise applications, and Me Inc. and EdgeClick for mobile services. SCO's highly innovative and reliable solutions help millions of customers grow their businesses everyday, from SCO OpenServer on main street to UnixWare on Wall Street, and beyond. SCO owns the core UNIX operating system, originally developed by AT&T/Bell Labs and is the exclusive licensor to UNIX-based system software providers.

Headquartered in Lindon, Utah, SCO has a worldwide network of thousands of resellers and developers. SCO Global Services provides reliable localized support and services to partners and customers. For more information on SCO products and services, visit www.sco.com.

A lot of water flowed under the bridge between "a leading provider of UNIX software technology and mobile services" and "The SCO Group, Inc. provides UNIX-based products and services." I guess this is may be a more interesting conference call than I thought.


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