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IDC pricks SCO-Caldera bubble

Expresses 'strong sense of disquiet'

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IDC has delivered a wary response to the acquisition by Caldera of the Santa Cruz Operation's UnixWare and its accompanying services division.

We've only got some excerpts of the IDCFlash, entitled Caldera Acquires Parts of SCO - Does it Make Sense?. But in a fine piece of reporting Linuxgram got hold of some more and, from these excerpts, IDC's answer to its own question seems to be: "Not a lot".

The authors profess to "a strong sense of disquiet" and predict a slow decline for UnixWare and the accompanying services division that Caldera acquired.

"It's not at all clear that joining together two companies which each have had difficulties creating well-known brands will result in a well known company. If customers aren't aware of a product, they won't consider it. If they don't consider it, they certainly won't purchase it."

This is pretty robust talk coming from the diplomatic analyst community. IDC points out that the crushing drop in UnixWare revenue over the past three quarters is the result of it being squeezed between competing Risc, open source Linux/BSD and Windows 2000 server competitors, rather than merely a post-Y2K malaise, as SCO argues. And that will more than an 'Under New Management' sticker to turn that around, it argues.

As we've pointed out, both Caldera's Linux and SCO's UnixWare are excellent products in their class - but both are suffering from a popularity deficit. And that marrying the two cultures, while satisfying Caldera's basic business requirement to produce open source software, is not going to be easy. Especially when the crown jewels Caldera acquired really belong to Compaq and Veritas, among others, and are essentially out of the open source game.

Such scepticism has been widely voiced in the public prints, and in our mailbag too, which expresses opinions ranging from the guardedly optimistic to the gloomy. You can read similar opinions almost everywhere, in fact, except ZDNet, which was gifted the scoop by Caldera and has been beside itself with excitement ever since: grumbling to us in private and in public about our lack of enthusiasm for the great project. Well folks, we just call it as we see it.

ZDNet columnist Evan Leibovitch took a pot at The Register to say we'd "misinterpreted" the financial analysts conference call. Evan, you'd make a far more convincing case if you'd supported that assertion with some evidence.

Meanwhile dear readers, the conference call in question is still online here, so you can judge for yourselves the accuracy of our account.

For the record we think Caldera CEO Ransom Love is taking a shrewd and practical approach to the problem. It's just that facing two ways at once (and recall that a very different emphasis was given to journalists in an early call that morning) could prove uncomfortable in the short-term, and unsustainable in the long-term. Something's got to give. ®

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Double-spinning Caldera faces open source backlash
Caldera goes Unix with SCO acquisition
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Caldera, SCO deny takeover talks

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