Despite claims this week from SCO CEO and president Doug Michels that Unix is now "a more mature platform", the vendor still lacks the crucial marketing savvy it needs so desperately to convince its channel partners and customers that Unix is not dead. . . Speaking at SCO's annual SCO Forum here, Michels claimed SCO continues to dominate the Unix market and has strong aspirations for the enterprise.
"Unix is now a much more mature platform to run mission-critical applications on," Michels declared. "Techo's have know this for some time but it's senior management - the cheque signers - who we now have to convince.
"We have to try and alter the thinking of many senior managers who, for whatever reasons, tend to vote in favour of what they know - and that's a Microsoft solution."
But it's clear that SCO is fighting the battle on the wrong fronts. The vendor seems unable to distance itself from the in fighting amongst the various Unix flavours headed by Sun Solaris, IBM AIX and HP-UX. It also seems intent on harping about the inadequacies of Windows NT rather than championing the benefits of its own technologies to resellers, distributors and independent software vendors (ISVs).
According to IDC, SCO need not worry about challenges from its Unix rivals. The vendor increased its overall lead in market share for Unix server operating systems, with 40.8 per cent market share for new product licenses shipped in 1997. Sun Solaris, meanwhile, trailed with 16 per cent market share. SCO also dominates the Unix-based Intel server market, according to IDC. New worldwide license shipment figures for 1997 show that SCO captured 80 per cent market share.
As for upcoming technology announcements, Michels predicted business opportunities for resellers and integrators who embrace its Tarantella 'application broker' software. Tarantella can provide users with access to any application from any client running a Java browser.
"Tarantella will require resellers to adopt specific skills as the software can be deployed in heterogeneous environments," Michels said. However, he added that SCO would later this year announce reseller programs to familiarise its resellers with the Web-based product.
Michels reaffirmed SCO's commitment to the small and medium business (SMB) market and also alluded to an increased focus on gaining enterprise mindshare.
On the SMB front, this week's release of SCO OpenServer Release 5.0.5 offers resellers the chance to push remote access solutions to customers, according to Michels. The new version supports the Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP) server to allow mobile users to easily access the network from any other corporate location.
Meanwhile, application developer interest in SCO's latest operating system, UnixWare 7 received a boost with Oracle announcing that the latest version of Oracle8; Oracle8.0.4 and Oracle applications would support the platform.