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SCO: 'Someone wants to buy our software biz!'

Mystery co. vows return to former SCO 'glory'

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

SCO says it has selected a buyer for its software product business: a mystery company known as UnXis Group.

"We are extremely confident that, with the support of our customers and business partners, we will rapidly restore SCO to its former glory and that UnXis will soon emerge as a major player in the information technology industry," said Eric le Blan, UniXis vice chairman, in a press release entitled "UnXis Group Acquires SCO".

One problem with that title: the UnXis Group hasn't acquired SCO. As the release admits, the acquisition is not final: "UnXis Inc. announced today that it has been selected as the buyer for the software product business of The SCO Group Inc," it reads.

Being selected as the buyer doesn't mean that the acquisition is a done deal. In point of fact, the acquisition is pending a bankruptcy court hearing set for next Wednesday, February 16. Only if that court approves the acquisition will le Blan and company have the opportunity to restore SCO to their envisioned "former glory".

Hans Bayer, SCO's vice president of SCO worldwide sales, put a positive spin on the selection. "We are delighted that after years of shifting targets, that under the UnXis ownership, we now will be prepared to create a truly customer driven, fully supported, open systems platform for high reliability enterprise computing."

As those have who followed SCO's machinations know all too well, the company – which claims on its website that it "owns all rights and ownership of the core UNIX operating system source code originally developed by AT&T/Bell Labs" – initiated legal actions, against IBM, Novell, and others. Countersuits were also filed, with Red Hat joining IBM, and with Novell fighting back too. .

SCO filed for bankruptcy in September 2007, dogged by legal fees and declining sales, after a US judge ruled that Novell, not SCO, was the owner of the Unix and UnixWare copyrights. At that time, the judge also ruled that SCO owed royalities to Novell for Unix licenses that it had sold to Sun Microsystems and Microsoft.

Last September, a US backruptcy court approved SCO's request to sell off its software business. But as Groklaw points out, the proposed sale could be characterized as a way for SCO to shed whatever assets it may still have and to transform itself into a valueless entity, thus making meaningless any creditors' claims against it during the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.

The proposed sale still needs that aforementioned court approval next Wednesday. Perhaps Friday's press release was either wishful thinking or an attempt to convince the judge that the sale is a fait accompli. Or both.

One thing in this entire turgid affair is clear, however: SCO's reputation has been so sullied by the entire legal saga that UnXis – whomever they might be – would be buying a crippled brand.

We're betting against SCO being restored to its "former glory". ®

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