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SCO On the Rocks 255

Posted by Zonk
from the shaken,-not-stirred dept.
Netromancer wrote in to alert us to a Businessweek Online article discussing the downward spiral in SCO's fortunes and luck. From the article: "The mouse that roared is barely squeaking these days. A string of recent setbacks raises grave questions about SCO's finances, its court case, and its management."
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SCO On the Rocks

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  • Re:Whoa (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KiloByte (825081) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @02:10PM (#11853472)
    Well, well... that's a popular business strategy, and often, it works.
  • by tindur (658483) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @02:15PM (#11853513)
    ...til the judge hammers. I wouldn't like to see somebody else buying the case and starting it all over again.
  • by ElScorcho (115780) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @02:16PM (#11853524)
    ..especially the management at SCO. You think they're upset about this? It was obvious from the very beginning that they didn't have the long term benefit of the company in mind when they started all this garbage. The people in charge of SCO, like so many other dead corps of the past, don't care what happens to the company. If you think they haven't gotten fabulously rich while all this has been going on you're deluding yourself.

    At this point they're probably running company affairs from their yachts, and when it implodes, so what? Won't hurt them at all, and in a year or two they'll be hired on by some other group of corporate leeches and they'll drain another company dry.

    It's just a shame that in this case it impacts more than just the poor slobs working at the company in question (of course, if they're STILL there after all this they deserve it) but something that millions all over the globe care about. But, hey, it was good for business- after all no publicity is bad publicity, right?
  • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stephenisu (580105) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @02:23PM (#11853574)
    There is is nothing immoral about suing a large corporation. Now, suing them for something unfounded costing taxpayer money while simultaniously raising costs that get passed to the consumer, THAT is immoral.

    I still feel kinda bad for the SCO employees who had nothing to do with the litigation and have faced an extra hard time getting employment after leaving because "They were there".
  • Re:Whoa (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hhlost (757118) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @02:27PM (#11853598)
    Who would have thought that basing a company on litigation, scare tactics, and spreading FUD wouldn't work?

    I agree. They can't be so stupid not to understand that the courts would eventually figure out what they're doing and put an end to this. In my experience, judges are very down-to-earth people and really frown upon people/organizations who are trying to take advantage of the system. Of course, it seems that SCO & friends knew that it would take a ton of time and money to demonstrate to the non-technical folks (e.g. judges, corporate execs.) that their case is frivolous, and that the news of a lawsuit against Linux would strike fear in the hearts of corporate execs, whose job security depends on their ability to make decisions that help the company in the long run.

    In that sense, SCO succeeded in buying (a) commercial OS maker(s) some time to fix their (its) flawed products. I take pleasure in the fact that it doesn't seem to have been enough time... I recently talked with an exec at a company that just switched to Linux and they're saving over $1 million annually! As long as Linux works for them---and it does---why wouldn't they make the switch. It's simple business. That's what has the big OS companies (company) shaking in their (its) penny loafers.
  • Re:Whoa (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tambo (310170) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @02:42PM (#11853730)
    I still feel kinda bad for the SCO employees who had nothing to do with the litigation and have faced an extra hard time getting employment after leaving because "They were there".

    First, they've had ample notice that the company was going down the tubes, so they should have been dusting off their resumes a year ago.

    Second, I doubt that SCO's outcome will adversely any non-manager employee. Presumably, the HR reps/slave traders in the industry can tell the difference between an engineer and a corporate officer. (And, by that same token, I hope the business leaders over at SCO are seen as pariahs for the next decade.)

    - David Stein

  • Re:Whoa (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jbolden (176878) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @02:49PM (#11853786) Homepage
    One thing that's nice about this is that we get the unfairness in reverse. People think that Linux has been much more legally tested than it has been as a result of this case.
  • Re:uh huh.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superpulpsicle (533373) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @02:50PM (#11853797)
    Yeah management jobs are always a win-win situation in the U.S.

    1.) They can do a good job and get paid x number of dollars.

    2.) They do a bad job and get axed. But rewarded with a massive severance package.

    It's unfair in every way to the share holders.

  • Re:To the Zealots (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrResistor (120588) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {ffoharetep}> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @02:55PM (#11853824) Homepage
    Remember one thing...after SCO, another will be minted.

    Yes, I'm sure it will be similarly successful. Of course, depending on what happens to the ancestral Unix code when SCO dies, there may not actually be anything to sue over.

    There hasn't been a successful suit against Linux yet, and I don't see one in the future. There's a good reason the GPL hasn't been tested in court: it's so strong that nobody has the balls to go up against it.

    Also remember that according to Microsoft's Ballmer, there is no significant Linux deployment anywhere on earth.

    Maybe Ballmer needs to remember how Microsoft got in it's position in the first place.

  • by v1 (525388) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @02:58PM (#11853850) Homepage Journal
    SCO does not have any "willing" customers - they are basically extorting people. Paying a company money so they DON'T sue you is not a people-friendly way to conduct business, but at least in the very short-term, it does work because people are paranoid or naive.
  • by JPriest (547211) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @03:06PM (#11853908) Homepage
    But considering the length of time this has dragged on, the 900 million lines of code provided to them, and the fact that there has not been a single shred of evidence to date, why is this even still in court? How much money do you suppose this has cost IBM and tax payers so far?

    Doesn't the court have some basic responsibility to IBM to end this case now that SCO has come up short?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2005 @03:10PM (#11853934)
    In order for you to sell a stock short, your broker has to find someone who owns it and is willing to lend it to you. After all, whoever buys it from you is expecting to take delivery of the stock, and you don't have it to deliver.

    Nowadays, most stock is held in so-called "street name": the owner doesn't actually hold certificates but rather leaves it in his broker's name. Stock held this way is available for borrowing. For example, every brokerage firm has *some* customer who is long, say, MSFT but has left it in street name; if you want to short MSFT, the firm can borrow the stock from that customer. (That right to borrow your stock is explicitly written into the terms and conditions of brokerage accounts.)

    Stocks in a death spiral, such as SCOX / SCOXE, are often hard to locate for borrowing and subsequent short selling. Under such circumstances, the prices of put options (the right but not the obligation to sell the stock at a specified price until a specified date) can and do go through the roof.

    Incidentally, the money to be made shorting SCOX / SCOXE has already been made. There's not much more room left for the stock to go down.
  • by theonetruekeebler (60888) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @03:15PM (#11853968) Homepage Journal
    Here we see what happens to companies with nasty and unsustainable business models:

    Instead of building a good product, they tried to steal an existing one. Instead of getting ahead in the market with innovation, they sued their competitors and many potential allies. Instead of building a loyal client base, they sued their own customers.

    They sued their own customers! And they sued their ex-customers. Who would do business with a company like that? Their customers are fleeing in droves. Their vendors and resellers are dropping them for what they are. Nobody trusts them. And since nobody has to do business with them, nobody will.

    And at the risk of saying what's already been said: Good riddance.

  • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbolden (176878) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @03:58PM (#11854186) Homepage
    Nothing has been tested in court, that's what the judge means by "not a single disputed fact". However a great deal has been semi-tested in that SCO couldn't find anything:

    1) The origins of Linux pan out
    2) The multi-processor stuff that Alan Cox put in Linux came from where he says it did
    3) Unix is solely a trademark
    4) There isn't any SCO code in Linux.

    Still to be tested will be SCO's theory of law
    5) Free copyright licenses that encourage cooperation but not commerce have full force of law.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2005 @04:23PM (#11854357)
    They don't have any IP assets. Novell sold them a cat in a bag years ago and has been laughing about it ever since.
  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @04:29PM (#11854397) Journal
    Corporations were formed squarely to be immune officers from litigation. I do not know if this is still true but it was an early loophole in the 19th century.

    Typically only companies and not their executives are responsible for their civil actions. Unless McBride clearly broke the law legaiily with a huge paper trail pointing to him it will be very difficult if not impossible to convict him.

  • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @06:18PM (#11855051)
    Second, I doubt that SCO's outcome will adversely any non-manager employee.
    Do you suppose it will hurt the executive officers? They're famous now! Check out Carly Fiorina who lead HP to a 50% reduction [] in value. They paid her 45 million [] just to go away, prompting an immediate 7% spike [] in HP stock. Her punishment? Serious consideration for the job of World Bank President []!

    Once you've "in," nothing matters anymore. In extreme cases you might get fired and be forced to retire in luxury.

  • Re:Perhaps (Score:3, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @06:23PM (#11855091)
    Is he really a polygamist?
    No, but it's funny how the word "polygamy" makes people's heads explode, even though they have no qualms with marrying and divorcing repeatedly, or even just sleeping around.
  • Re:Whoa (Score:2, Insightful)

    by barfomar (557172) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @09:22PM (#11856142)
    Playing devils advocate:

    Crazier things have happened on the last minute in this weird legal system we have.

    If they can get it in front of a jury of Joe 12-packs, add the right spin, it could still go SCO's way.

    There's nothing logical or rational about the present system. It's still a roll of the dice. Daryl could come out smelling like a rose.

    In the mean time, the lawyers (on both sides) are trying real hard not to kill the job. It's to their benefit to drag it out as long as possible.

  • Re:Whoa (Score:2, Insightful)

    by trewornan (608722) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:19PM (#11856444)
    the SCO move is nothing but a blatant attempt to blackmail IBM and the Linux community for the benefit of MS

    No, I don't think that's what happened - there's only one explanation of this that makes sense to me:

    SCO execs decided to sue IBM on the assumption that IBM would then buy them out just to shut down the case. Darl and cronies would then have made a nice killing on their stocks/options.

    Instead, IBM decided to make an example of SCO to discourage other rats from trying the same thing.

    SCO found themselves in a position where they couldn't back down and have been desperately trying to put off the inevitable with any slimy trick they can think of.

    MS didn't get involved until things were already well advanced, at which point they saw a PR opportunity and slung a load of money to SCO but got caught and it backfired. I can't imagine MS are still funneling money to SCO since nobody takes them seriously anymore.

  • by Sentry21 (8183) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @01:06AM (#11857175) Journal
    Yeah, but... but... I want them to flame out in a huge court loss. I want SCO's finances and future prospects to be devastated. I want a clear and definitive signal that Linux is safe and SCO was stupid to butt heads with Open Source.

    This has nothing to do with open-source. SCO was stupid to butt heads with IBM in the first place, and going up against Novell at the same time is a dangerous gambit. SCO doesn't have much of a case in either area, and a loss against Novell would (as I understand the situation) invalidate any claims they might have to the copyright, though I believe the IBM suit is more about contracts than copyright.

    This has nothing to do with Linux being open-source and everything to do with an insignificant company trying to take on a behemoth (IBM) and a big player (Novell) at the same time, without having a case in the first place. It's about SCO beefing itself up and trying to bully everyone around, only the first 'victims' it chose were a quarterback and a karate student, and now the bully is telling everyone that it will be kicking their asses, while its targets are just going about their lives ignoring SCO's talk until things come to a head and they have no choice but to give SCO a taste of the harsh reality that SCO apparantly can't accept (or even see).

    SCO will die a slow wasting death, consumed by its own greed and insecurity, and convinced that the rest of the world stole from it and they all must pay the price. Its death comes, not from challenging open-source, but from a descent into madness of which their challenge is merely a symptom.

    SCO is going to die pathetic, and they are going to rot forgotten.
  • Re:Whoa (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hhlost (757118) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:45PM (#11859618)
    If I write something and publish it, I'm not obligated to make a profit on it; I'm not even obligated to try. I can give it to anyone I want and, if I want, I can put restrictions on it's use for as long as I hold the copyright.

    The GPL is a license. It says that the authors are permitting anyone who's willing to follow some rules can use the product that the author has the rights to. (IOW: The authors are forfeiting their exclusive rights over the product with some restrictions.)

    There is nothing illegal about the GPL---at least not in its general concept---under any reasonable theory of law. The problem is that the idea of giving something away for free really undermines the whole concept of capitalism. Those who rely on bullying competitors with their almost limitless funds don't like this. But I do. :-)

No amount of careful planning will ever replace dumb luck.