SCO sues IBM over Unix

[MARCH 7, 2003] - Unix operating system vendor SCO Group said today it has sued IBM for allegedly trying to ''destroy the economic value of Unix.'' SCO claims IBM hurt Unix as it sought to build up its new IBM Linux services business.

The suit, filed in state court in Utah, is seeking at least $1 billion for misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition and breach of contract.

''This case is not about the merits of proprietary vs. open-source software models,'' said SCO President and CEO Darl McBride. ''This case is also not about IBM's right to develop and promote open-source software, so long as they do that without SCO's proprietary information,'' he continued.

''When they take our proprietary code and, without our permission, put that into the open-source community, that is where we do have a major-league problem,'' said McBride.

In 1995, SCO acquired Unix System source technology from Novell Corp., which had earlier acquired it from AT&T's Unix System Labs. The present dispute arises out of a Unix licensing agreement that IBM forged with AT&T in the mid-'80s. From those roots arose IBM's AIX server and workstation OS. IBM has contributed to the growth of open-source Unix by adding various elements, some derived from its work in AIX.

Some type of legal move had been expected from SCO, which recently formed a new business division to manage its Unix intellectual property assets. The company has also hired David Boies, famed as the prosecutor in the landmark DOJ-Microsoft antitrust case, to defend those assets.


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