Feeds

MS sells stake in SCO, and a chapter closes

A long time ago, Bill Gates said 'Dos 2.0 is the bridge to Xenix.' Not a lot of people know that...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Microsoft has apparently sold its entire 12.3 percent holding in SCO. The indication on SEC Form 144 is that the sale took place around 12 January, with Goldman Sachs acting for Microsoft. Strictly speaking, the filing is an indication of a proposal to sell, and not a definitive notice. The timing of the sale is certainly interesting. Had Microsoft decided to sell its holding on 27 December, it would have done so when the share price was at a 52-week high of $35.875. But by 12 January, the price was around $25, and sank on 12 January when Goldman Sachs started selling the shares. A key point is that on 12 January SCO announced an expected shortfall in earnings because of Y2K effects, which was confirmed in the Q1 results on 18 January. Microsoft acquired the shares as a result of getting SCO, founded in 1978 by Doug and Larry Michels, to work on a version of Unix called Xenix. Microsoft had licensed Unix from AT&T, and the product was first marketed in 1979. In 1987, Microsoft was concerned that AT&T's Unix applications might not run with Xenix. As a consequence, AT&T agreed to add some Xenix code to its Unix and to pay Microsoft a royalty for this. Novell subsequently acquired Unix from AT&T, held it for two years, and then sold it to SCO in 1995 (with Novell receiving a 13.8 percent holding in SCO as part of the deal). The next year, SCO realised that the code added to Unix was no longer needed or relevant, so it asked Microsoft to agree to end the agreement. Microsoft refused, with the consequence that SCO complained to the European Commission competition directorate early in 1997. In FY 1998, SCO paid Microsoft more than $1.138 million in royalties. Four months later, the EC saw Microsoft's action as a restraint of trade, so Microsoft quietly agreed to settle the case and avoid a formal hearing. The Commission noted that SCO could "design its future products as it wishes, is not obliged to use any Microsoft intellectual property in future UNIX products". SCO said that "the lifting of this burden" would have a "positive impact". Microsoft's press release "applauded the decision of the European Commission to close the file" and failed to mention the EC ruling against Microsoft. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.