Woe be SCO!

A popular (though inaccurate) definition of the word insanity is "Doing the same thing over, and over again, and expecting different results."

So what are we to conclude about SCO chief Darl McBride when after announcing another spectacularly bad fiscal quarter said "Despite our revenue decline and net loss, we remain committed to and optimistic about our business strategy"?

(Note to Darl — your business strategy has been losing money for three straight years.  Time to call your shrink.)

And the news was grim even for SCO.  Their net losses were doubled, mainly due to an unexpected $3.8M in new legal expenses.  This took their diminishing shareholders by surprise as SCO management had previously announced that the legal team that lost the election for Al Gore had a cap on their legal fees, which should have been met millions of dollars ago.

SCO is burning through $4.7 million a quarter.  With only $18.6 left in the bank, and assuming their losses through software license defection don’t slide faster than before, SCO will be bankrupt in about one year.  And that last assumption concerning revenues is critical given that SCO revenues were down 23 percent from the same time last year.

So in another "gamble it all" maneuver, SCO is throwing what little money they have at the mobile market.  The critical flaw in their strategy is that the mobile market is a moving target with a bewildering array competitors, but ones chanting the open standards mantra.  SCO wants to be in the edge services market, but telecom service providers are clearly wed to Solaris and Linux as edge platforms, and leverage web technologies (HTTP and Java mainly) to do their bidding on handsets.  For SCO to win in this market they would have to push aside standards and open development tools, which no one company —  not even Microsoft — can do.

SCO doesn’t have nearly enough cash to make this sea change, and SCO lawyers won’t let them keep any more than necessary to keep the host organism alive.

All companies must create value.  SCO has not created value for UNIX, choosing instead to litigate over fairly flimsy claims. They create opposing value in the edge services for mobile market.  And they produce negative value for shareholders.

But they do provide value for their attorneys.


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