SCO Asks Big Money from Big Blue

By Staff Staff | Posted at 10:41 PM

The SCO Group, the GNU/Linux developer formerly known as Caldera, yesterday filed a lawsuit that could be worth more than $1 billion against International Business Machines Corp. According to a press announcement on the SCO intellectual property division's web site, “As a result of IBM's unfair competition and the marketplace injury sustained by SCO, SCO is requesting damages in an amount to be proven at trial, but no less than $1 billion, together with additional damages through and after the time of trial.”

The beleaguered Linux distributor SCO (NASDAQ: SCOX) claims that IBM has violated the February 1985 license agreement it had with AT&T Bell Labs to produce their AIX variant of the UNIX System V operating environment. SCO alleges that Big Blue violated the said agreement by “improperly extracting and using the confidential and proprietary information” of UNIX through the various software components they have released to the GNU/Linux community.

Rumors escaping the Lindon, Utah-based company as early as mid-January had suggested the company may be gearing up to sue one or more of its competing Linux distributors, such as Red Hat, in the near future. The speculation intensified when SCOsource, the intellectual property-licensing wing of the company, was announced during LinuxWorld in late January. In part, that announcement acknowledge the retaining of star attorney David Boies by SCOsource for “research and protection of SCO's patents,” providing many observers of an ominous feeling about what SCO was up to.

In addition to the financial reimbursement SCO seeks, the company is also demanding that IBM cease “anti-competitive” practices within 100 days or the company may revoke IBM?s UNIX license that allows it to continue to provide AIX. How IBM will respond to this ultimatum by SCO is still unknown.

At press time, a wild fire of negative publicity against SCO had spread across the GNU/Linux community, with some calling the company “pure evil” and the popular PCLinuxOnline web site declaring a “war on SCO.Open for Business editor-in-chief Timothy R. Butler comments about this groundbreaking lawsuit here.