SCO CEO on IBM lawsuit, plans

The critics have been harsh on The SCO Group since it claimed ownership of pieces of Linux in recent years via lawsuits and threatened legal action. Darl McBride, president and CEO of SCO, talked with Computerworld during the SCO Forum in Las Vegas this week about the state of SCO and about its future -- whether it wins or loses its legal battles.

Did you expect that more business users of Linux would license Unix code from the SCOsource intellectual property licensing group following the lawsuits?

The SCOsource licensing deals were originally not created by us but from requests by customers. They didn't want to wait for the conclusion of the legal battles, and they wanted to use Linux with SCO Unix licenses. We had some initial takers. People started signing up until other companies said, "We will cover you if SCO ultimately wins its court fight." It's kind of been an interesting scenario. We're just not pursuing it anymore. We just don't have time to do everything. Let's get our courtroom victories, and then we'll re-evaluate the situation.

What is SCO's business strategy for the period before the IBM case goes to trial in February 2007?

We want to be the leaders in agile computing by 2010. Agile computing is where you can take your business applications with you wherever you are, on whatever device you have.

The last 25 years was about business applications. The next 25 years will be about business applications, but on new devices. It's technology we had. We're building on it.

Since you filed the lawsuits, critics have been saying that SCO has become a company of IP rights and is no longer a products company. How do you respond to that criticism?

The legal-fee caps placed on our legal expenses earlier allow us now to focus on our products. Had we not had the caps on the fees, the company might not even be here in the future because it would continue to have to pay out high legal expenses.

What happens to SCO if it wins its case against IBM, and what happens if it loses?

I thought in the past that if we lost, we were done. But I've totally changed my view on that. If we lose, we still have the start-up technologies with brand reach around the world. If we win, you pour fire on that mega-start-up, and it just gets hotter. If we win, I don't think other lawsuits will be necessary.

That said, what is the future of SCO?

We want to backfill so our technologies are as big as our brand. We think two years from now is the right time for the next SCO OpenServer update. We've got a lot of things bubbling up. I like our chances far better now, obviously, more than three years ago. I like our chances now not just in the courtroom, but in the marketplace.

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