SCO aims to reinvent itself through mobility

SCO is trying to reinvent itself as a mobile application platform and services provider.

In recent years The SCO Group has been best known for its costly and controversial licensing dispute over Unix intellectual property. But SCO's leader said the company is in the process of reinventing itself into a mobile application platform and services provider with new products, services and partnerships.

Calling its new direction a "turning point for the company," SCO President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Darl McBride said on a conference call during the SCO Forum Monday that the company is ready to "get back into business." Although SCO will continue to offer its Unix products, its core focus going forward will be on a new set of subscription-based mobile services called Me Inc. that it has developed using a new mobile software development platform called EdgeClick, he said.

"We want to provide a level of personal automation down to the class of mobile device users," McBride said. "We invite third-party ISV friends and mobile solution partner friends to develop applications and business logic on top of this platform. We're very bullish on where this all goes."

At the conference Monday, SCO unveiled partnerships with both Palm and Microsoft to help developers build mobile services using EdgeClick. SCO joined the developer programs of both companies so it can provide better tools for developers to build services for the Palm Treo 700w and Palm Treo 700p smartphones, as well as devices that use Microsoft's .NET platform.

McBride said he expects SCO to leverage its relationships with both Microsoft and Palm to sell Me Inc. and other mobile services built using EdgeClick.

One Me mobile service, called Shout, allows users to send real-time, personal voice messages to a group of any size from a smartphone or PC. Another one, Vote, is for creating opinion polls that can be sent the same way.

SCO also soon expects to release a new HipCheck service for remote-control monitoring of Windows and Unix systems on Treo devices, it said. HipCheck, which also had its debut at the SCO Forum on Monday, also will allow for monitoring of clients using the forthcoming Windows Vista OS from Microsoft.

McBride declined to comment much on SCO's ongoing litigation with IBM over intellectual property, choosing instead to focus on the company's new direction. But he said SCO is anxious to bring its case to court and expects to do so in about six months. It has cost the company more than US$50 million, he said.

"We are very much looking forward to having our day in front of a jury of our peers," McBride said.

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