SCO: When Bad Things Happen to Good Brands - Page 2

SCO probably could have been a better-run company. My memory is that the stock analysts were fairly definite on that point, but it wouldnt have been nearly so much fun. Nor would it have reflected the whole open systems thing, the flag around which the Unix community rallied even if it was a Utopian vision—one world, one Unix—that never came close to being fulfilled.

This was the same SCO that had Microsoft as a minority owner. Ten percent as I remember, but Redmond got a seat on the SCO board as part of the deal. This is supposed to have resulted in many board meetings where the Microsoft member was excluded while everyone else talked about how to compete with Microsoft.

SCO was a good company with a good reputation. In some ways, SCO was Linux before Linux, popularizing Unix on low-cost Intel machines. Of course, it was the rise of Linux and SCOs inability to respond quickly enough that resulted in todays SCO—The Lawsuit Company. Perhaps they should use that as a corporate tagline? After all, thats how everybody thinks of the company these days.

Ive tried not to discuss the SCO lawsuits with Doug. The soul of the old SCO remains at Tarantella, a Unix utility company that wasnt part of the deal that sold the name to the Utah folks. Doug stayed with Tarantella after the sale, most recently in what I think is more of an advisory than an executive capacity.

I was at Dougs that day introducing him to a friend who needed some advice with a business hes starting, an introduction that could lead him to some of Dougs friends, many from the glory days of SCO.

Hard to believe that was less than a decade ago, but so many things have changed. There are no longer margins large enough to support terribly many "fun" companies. And hard times mean that many companies we used to admire—AT&T is my favorite example—have fallen into bad hands.

SCO is another of those companies. Its a good brand name that deserves better, or at least a decent burial and a wake. But instead, its memory is being trashed by people who dont and maybe cant appreciate the fondness many of us still have for the old Santa Cruz Operation.

Perhaps they should rename the rename the SCO Group after its new location—Lindon, Utah. But the initials LO are probably too close to "Lawsuits Only" for the new owners comfort.


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