The SCO Group has snapped up software startup Vultus to boost its ambitions in the web services arena.
Vultus' product lineup includes the Web Face Solution Suite, a development environment for creating rich user interfaces for web-based applications.
The acquisition forms a key element of SCOx, a set of products that allow SCO and its resellers to build web services applications for businesses based on SCO's version of Unix.
Web services use standard technologies such as Soap and XML to link disparate business applications in a way that is supposed to be cheaper and more flexible than using proprietary messaging systems.
IBM, BEA Systems, Microsoft and dozens of other suppliers are also promoting tools and services for the emerging model.
SCO said it acquired the assets, engineering personnel and technology of Vultus "recently" for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition marks a "strategic step" in SCO's effort to create a web services framework that it can offer customers, said Jeff Hunsaker, SCO's senior vice-president of marketing.
The Web Face Solution Suite can be used to create a user interface for web service applications that does not require a user to install plug-ins or Java, the company said. It can be used with platforms including BEA WebLogic and IBM WebSphere, and works in both Java and .net environments.
Along with the Web Face Solution Suite, SCO picked up Vultus' professional services team trained in web application development, which SCO considers a significant part of the deal. The company is targeting web services as "a platform for growth" and will expand on its plans at its SCO Forum conference, planned for 17-20 August in Las Vegas.
SCO is embarked on a controversial litigation campaign over what it views as the widespread theft of its intellectual property related to Unix. The company has filed a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against IBM over the matter and, more recently, has demanded licensing fees from enterprises using Linux.
James Niccolai writes for IDG News Service