SCO's New Theme Song: "Running On Empty" - InformationWeek

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9/14/2007
05:25 PM
Serdar Yegulalp
Serdar Yegulalp
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SCO's New Theme Song: "Running On Empty"

I've been humming that classic Jackson Browne tune every time I read more news about SCO and its protracted death spiral, which has been drawn out far beyond belief. The song's playing all the more loudly today: SCO just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

I've been humming that classic Jackson Browne tune every time I read more news about SCO and its protracted death spiral, which has been drawn out far beyond belief. The song's playing all the more loudly today: SCO just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

I have to wonder how long they were cruising on fumes with nothing more than what cash they had in the bank and what trickle of income they could squeeze from whatever partners or customers they had left. But the most amazing sentence in Paul McDougall's news story on the subject is the last one: "In a recent interview with InformationWeek, SCO CEO Darl McBride said he was confident that SCO could raise funds to cover any damages it might be forced to pay Novell by licensing its enterprise mobility software."

My question is: How? By having a bake sale? It's not as if any sane sysadmin or stockholder would go anywhere near the company at this point, either as a technology partner or a genuine customer. Not one of the IT people I have talked to shows the slightest interest in using SCO's products; those that are interested in commercial Unix prefer HP's offerings, or even Solaris.

It's not as if the company has much that can be sold off to appease creditors, either. The SEC filing on SCO for this past April reads "$7.8 million in cash or equivalents and total assets of only $20 million." Out of curiosity, I peeked at the weekend's box-office figures. If Sony's Superbad (a really funny movie, check it out sometime) was a corporation based on its box office take, it would have five times the total assets of SCO -- $103 million to SCO's $20 million. (Maybe SCO should get into the movie business, where it's apparently a lot easier to practice creative accounting and get away with it.)

SCO has been bankrupt for a long time. Not just financially, but creatively and intellectually. Its entire claim to fame as of late has not been making anything, it's been taking Novell and IBM to court over the ownership of Unix. The whole thing's scarcely less seedy than NTP's patent-troll tactics, although SCO apparently wasn't lucky enough to choose a battle they had a chance of winning.

At this point, it doesn't even matter what happens in court.  SCO's been dead meat for a long time.  But the worst part about SCO declaring Chapter 11 and "restructuring" is it means they might even be able to run on empty for that much longer.

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