Mark Webbink in his new blog pointed out something I had never noticed:
If you go back to the press conferences that SCO repeatedly called back in 2003 and 2004, they never began those press conferences by making the standard disclaimers cautioning investors to take what they were saying with a grain of salt. As a consequence, investors had every right to take what Darl McBride and Chris Sontag were saying in public back then as the gospel truth.
Of course, lawyers do notice things the rest of us don't.
I put some links to transcripts of some of those calls in News Picks the other day to verify, but it was brought to my attention that some of the links to the audio that matches the transcripts are now broken on our Audio Transcripts page. So, I tracked them down for you on Internet Archive, so we can all verify what Webbink wrote.
Be aware that if you click on the links, the audio files will begin to download. Here's the first link, an Ogg file, from the May 30, 2003 teleconference, and here's Groklaw's transcript, so you can match them up and verify for yourself that there was no disclaimer in evidence. Here's the mp3 of the SCO teleconference dated July 21, 2003, the one in which David Boies participated and they all threatened the Linux world with copyrights they had just registered. You can listen for yourself with the transcript in hand, and you'll see that there is no disclaimer in the audio. And here's their conference from August 5, 2003, another MP3, which was the one about Red Hat, and I hear no disclaimer. It matches up with our transcript in that respect. Of course, if you do find any errors, please let me know. But we tried to be very, very careful with the transcripts, to make sure they were accurate.
In October or 2003, there was yet another teleconference where the transcript shows no disclaimer. This was the one about the BayStar investment. I can't yet locate the audio for that one. If any of you have this or any other audio files, you might send me an email, and I'll search through my old collection as well.
Note that Webbink wrote with the precision of a lawyer. He mentioned press conferences, not earnings calls. And if you go down the list on our transcripts page, you will find both. In the earnings calls, SCO did have disclaimers, but in the early press conferences in contrast, I don't find any disclaimers, except for the one about the Boies Schiller financial arrangement with SCO, held on November 18, 2003. Here's the transcript on that one.
Matthew Aslett, in his article "If this is true SCOís execs are in BIG trouble," quoted Webbink, and he tried to verify:
This would be easy to verify if the audio files were still on http://ir.sco.com/ but a quick look didnít show up anything.
Well, it's Groklaw to the rescue.