SCO Mobilizes for IBM Unix Battle

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.