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SCO can ditch its Benelux distie

30 days notice for 30 years business

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SCO has won a court case against its Dutch distributor Dupaco. And it's got nothing to do with Linux.

SCO, the company now best-known for its crusade against IBM and other companies over Linux copyright issues, recently terminated its 18-year relationship with Dupaco, preferring a European franchise model.

Dupaco became a distributor of SCO Xenix as early as 1986. CEO and co-founder Erik Monninkhof told LinuxWorld recently that he attended every SCO Forum since then, and has turned down offers from other vendors to sell their UNIX distributions in addition to the SCO line. Dupaco has built a multi-million dollar revenue stream out of the SCO offerings.

Naturally, Monninkhof wasn’t pleased when SCO informed him that in 30 days the distribution contract would be terminated and that he could only remain as a zero-margin reseller. Country managers in Europe are offered exclusive franchise arrangements.

Monninkhof tried to reason with SCO, but didn’t succeed. At first SCO agreed to talk, so Monninkhof flew to SCO's headquarters in Utah, but learned that there was no-one to meet him and that visitors were not allowed in the building. Security then escorted Monninkhof off the premises. He was also given a letter indicating that his company was no longer welcome at SCO Forum.

A judge in Breda today ruled that the contract Dupaco had with SCO specified a lawful 30 day notice for termination. Monnikhof had hoped that the length and nature of the business relationship would be taken into consideration. Dupaco wanted €200,000 in damages.

Despite the setback, Dupaco is not in trouble: SCO accounts only around five per cent of total revenue. Elbert Vlastuin will now be SCO’s Regional Manager for the Benelux. ®

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