Darl McBride, CEO of embattled Unix vendor The SCO Group sat down with IDG recently to talk about a range of issues affecting his company.
They included the following key points.
In your keynote address at the opening session of SCO Forum 2004, you said you believe that the IT community will eventually "embrace" SCO's legal position on alleged intellectual property infringement after all the evidence in the IBM case is made public. Since the IT community in general has reacted negatively since the lawsuit was filed in March 2003, how do you think that this will realistically change?
Darl McBride (DM): It's really going from one end of the spectrum to the other. I think that what will happen here is when the truth is on the table and people really understand what happened in the case, there will be a big swing in the public perception about this small company that got clobbered by this big bully. I'm going a year out and saying that between now and then, when the truth gets out in the public filings and people know what we know, people are going to view us in a much more positive light.
With the lawsuits against IBM, Novell, AutoZone, DaimlerChrysler, SCO was putting companies on notice that it would go to court to protect its intellectual property. But despite those pending cases, other major IT vendors, including Unisys, have continued to unveil their Linux products. What's your reaction to the continuing rollout of Linux applications from major vendors despite SCO's legal fight? Are there more lawsuits to come?
DM: We came out and put our claims in front of the courts. We look forward to getting a resolution to those issues. When those issues are fully resolved, we will go from there. We have got our hands full right now. From our perspective right now, we are fine to let the reservoir fill. Later on, we will worry about the water flowing out the other side. We don't want to be spread too thinly by taking on the rest of the world (today). It's a long-term game. It's an endurance race.
As the case against IBM continues to go through the courts, isn't it possible, as critics have suggested, that IBM could buy SCO in a settlement and close the company down?
DM: The notion is that SCO loses either way - that IBM buys us, or we lose in court. We didn't go into this thing to try to go out of business. We're trying to reclaim the business that was improperly taken from us (due to alleged infringement of its Unix System V code). A settlement to me would be to restore what was taken from us so that we can stay in business.
In June, SCO reported that its Unix SCOsource licensing revenue in the second quarter had dropped 99 per cent to $US11,000, from $US8.25 million in the previous quarter. What's your reaction to such a drop?
DM: In the day-to-day business, we have some speed bumps that come up from our (intellectual property) issues. In the previous quarter, we had several large licensing deals, but you can't repeat those every quarter. It's not really as brutal as people might expect.