SCO Mobilizes for IBM Unix Battle

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-06-16 Print this article Print

Company says Big Blue violated contract, prepares to pull AIX license.

The SCO Group and IBM are headed toward a major showdown this week as SCO prepares to make good on its threat to revoke IBMs AIX license.

The move by SCO is only the latest in a series, which the Lindon, Utah, company insists is necessary to protect its intellectual property. Critics, however, say its a drastic attempt by SCO to shore up earnings and prospects in the hopes of attracting a buyer.

SCO will seek to stop IBM from selling its version of Unix, AIX, which has been shipping since 1990 and accounted for 15 percent of all Unix server operating system shipments in 2001. SCO says IBM violated the terms of its Unix license by allowing unauthorized access to Unix source code and giving away parts of the code to the open-source community. The 100-day notice period that SCO was contractually required to give IBM before revoking its Unix license passed June 13.

SCO CEO Darl McBride confirmed in an exclusive interview with eWEEK last week that the company intends to push ahead with its decision to revoke IBMs AIX license.

"IBM continues to maintain that its license is irrevocable and perpetual, but the contract we have with them makes clear that if all the terms and conditions of the contract are not met, then it is revocable," said McBride. "We believe they have not held up to those terms and conditions, particularly those around intellectual property and confidentiality, and so we have the right to revoke their license." IBM officials said there are no negotiations between IBM and SCO. "[The AIX license is] "irrevocable and perpetual and theres nothing further to talk about. We intend to try this case in the courts, and we intend to defend this vigorously," said IBM spokeswoman Trink Guarino.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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