SCO sees up to $US12 million in new Unix licensing

The SCO Group has predicted that it would book between $US9 million and $US12 million in revenue on Unix licensing deals with technology companies in its next financial quarter.

The disclosure came during SCO's quarterly financial conference call, where the company predicted that the revenue would come from its SCOsource licensing initiative, which was created in January to manage licensing fees for the System V Unix source code that SCO owns.

SCO is in Unix license negotiations with several companies, according to company spokesman Blake Stowell, who declined to identify the companies.

The $US9 million to $US12 million revenue in question is expected to come from technology companies looking to secure the Unix rights, and not from Linux users signing up for its Intellectual Property License for Linux program, Stowell said.

SCO has booked more than $US13 million this year in SCOsource licensing deals with Microsoft and Sun.

Last week, SCO branched beyond licensing Unix to technology vendors, when it created a new SCOsource product aimed at Linux users called SCO Intellectual Property License for Linux.

SCO claims that the Linux source code violates its intellectual property rights and has offered its Linux license, at a price of $US699 per processor for server users, as a way of bringing Linux users into compliance.

The license was blasted by Linux advocates as unnecessary, but a few days after it was announced, SCO said it had already signed up a Fortune 500 company for the license.

Whatever that company may have paid for licensing fees, it is not being factored into SCO's projections for the next quarter, according to SCO CEO, Darl McBride.

"We think there is a lot of upside here," he said, referring to the Linux license during SCO's earnings conference call.

However, McBride also said that the company was going "to see how that plays out before we start giving guidance there."

During the call, McBride revealed that SCO's legal expenses had amounted to between $US600,000 and $US700,000 to date, much less than $US1 million per quarter the company had expected to pay for the services of the high-profile Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP law firm.

"We have spent less than half of what we have budgeted so far," he said.

McBride also took a moment to take a shot at Linux's GNU General Public License (GPL).

"Building your company on a GPL license is like building your enterprise software on quicksand," he said. "Everybody is scared to death that their own IP is going to get sucked into this GPL machine and get destroyed," he said.

SCO, which until a year ago went by the name Caldera International, was itself considered a major supplier of GPL software, until it suspended its Linux shipments in May of this year.

The company's $US20.1 million in revenue for the quarter was up from its year-ago revenue of $US15.4 million, largely on the basis of $US7.3 million it booked from the Sun and Microsoft licensing deals. Net income for the quarter was $US3.1 million or $US0.19 per diluted share, the company reported. A year ago it reported a loss of $US4.5 million, or $US0.35 per diluted share.