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Ever talked to SCO? - asks IBM

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The discovery phase deepens in the SCO trial with IBM demanding every communication between SCO and Microsoft, Sun, Hewlett Packard and Baystar Capital - the investment company that initially funded the IP campaign - since the start of the McBride era.

This part of the discovery relates to "claims relating to Allegedly Misused Material." In addition to emails, IM chats and phone logs, IBM wants details of contracts between SCO and the four subpoened companies. IBM also wants to know the details of Microsoft, HP and Sun's Unix licensing agreements, including royalty schedules.

Microsoft's relationship to BayStar has long been a source of discussion amongst conspiracy theorists, and although Eric Raymond claimed to have produced the smoking pistol, it turned out to be nothing of the sort.

Courts generally frown on fishing expeditions, but IBM thinks it has something: specifically a communication between Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and SCO boss Darl McBride "... regarding SCO's rights to the UNIX operating system".

Sun and Microsoft were quick to settle with SCO when the lawyers started firing, back in the spring of 2003. Sun subsequently picked up Tarantella Inc, the former SCO acquisition headed by former SCO boss Doug Michaels. Both Michaels and former Caldera boss Ransom Love have distanced themselves from NewSCO's legal campaign over Unix IP.

Microsoft has an email retention policy that requires staff to destroy their emails within 30 days, it emerged during the Burst case. See How key Microsoft legal emails 'autodestruct'.

"Do not be foolish," Windows chief Jim Allchin told staff six years, "do not archive your e-mail."

Of course, records of financial and auditing communications must be retained for seven years under section 802 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. ®

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