SCO claims to have signed new Linux customer

The SCO Group has claimed to have signed up at least one new customer for its Linux licensing scheme and is retraining its sales...

The SCO Group has claimed to have signed up at least one new customer for its Linux licensing scheme and is retraining is sales force to make its case more effectively to a sceptical market.

The company filed a $3bn lawsuit against IBM in March, claiming that IBM's contributions to the Linux source code violate SCO's Unix System V intellectual property (IP) rights.

SCO has since maintained that the Linux source contains even more IP violations, and in August it unveiled a $700 (£445) IP Licence for Linux as a way for users to bring their Linux software into compliance with its claims.

The Linux community blasted the scheme, claiming that SCO had no right to demand licensing payments without first making its case in a court of law.

Despite the community outrage, SCO received more than 900 telephone calls in the week after it went public with the licensing plan, and some of those calls have now begun turning into licensing deals, according to company spokesman Blake Stowell.

The company has signed up at least one additional customer since it sold its first IP Licence for Linux on 11 August, he said.

Stowell said that almost all of the company's 100 sales representatives are now spending time selling the Linux licence, and that SCO is readying thousands of invoices that it plans to send to Linux users worldwide before 15 October, when the per-processor price of an IP Licence for Linux will double to $1,400.

"Over the past month, employees in our company have been doing research on various companies using Linux , and that's what they've based who they would send invoices to," said Stowell.

Commercial organisations using a 2.4 or later version of the Linux kernel in the US will be the first to receive invoices.

"For the most part, these are big business types of customers," said Stowell. "Initially it will start in the US, and will make its way internationally."

SCO's sales force has become more aggressive of late in its approach to Linux licences. The company held a one day "all hands" training session in early August to instruct its sales staff on how to qualify leads and approach customers about Linux licensing, and since then SCO salespeople have begun approaching customers.

SCO predicted that it would earn between $9m (£5.7m) and $12m in revenue this quarter from the SCOsource division that sells its Linux licences, but the Linux licences will be a hard sell, according to one industry analyst.

"It's difficult for me to see very many corporations who are going to be willing to start shelling out money for licences," said Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff.

"One can imagine some companies with a modest degree of exposure finding that paying a few dollars is less potential hassle than dealing with potential exposure down the road. But risk averse as corporations are, one has to believe that this is a small number."

Robert McMillian writes for IDG News Service


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