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13 January 2009, 15:03

SCO vs. Linux: "Unix" goes under the hammer

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The SCO Group plans to sell its software production; Unixware, OpenServer and Mobile Me, to the highest bidder in a public auction. This is part of the new reorganisation plan the company lodged, two weeks after the deadline, with the bankruptcy court that is dealing with the case. SCO plans to use the proceeds to finance its various pending legals disputes concerning the intellectual property rights to Unix as well as over the use of some Unix code, allegedly integrated into Linux without permission.

According to the official news release about the reorganisation plan, several investors have expressed an interest in bidding for SCO's software division at the public auction. As the release says, the 2 million servers using SCO software worldwide present interesting business opportunities for investors. Jeff Hunsaker, president and chief operating officer of SCO Operations said "One goal of this approach is to separate the legal defence of our intellectual property rights from our core product business". Should the auction fail to attract the required interest, SCO has presented a backup plan. In this case, the vendor intends to continue releasing new, attractive software itself. Among the products announced for 2009 are SCO UNIX Virtual product lines for VMware and Hyper-V that allows SCO legacy applications to run on modern hardware. It is also expecting to ship FCmobilelife and FCtasks for the iPhone.

The bankruptcy court has to decide on the reorganisation plan by the end of March 2009. A hearing is scheduled before the court on February 25, 2009. If the court rejects the plan, SCO could well have to be liquidated according to Chapter 7 of the US bankruptcy law.

As a result of winning a court case against SCO that established that Novell never sold the copyright in its Unix code to SCO, Novell is now the largest creditor. SCO Group's CEO, Darl McBride said the ruling in the litigation with Novell forced SCO to protect its business base by filing for Chapter 11. He says the reorganisation plan is an important step forward in emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

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(Detlef Borchers)


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