Judge grants IBM’s request for summary judgement and orders parties to reach dismissal agreement by February 26.
Two SCO stories in a week? As Yogi Berra would say, it’s 2003 all over again. But this time with a big difference. It’s almost over.
I told you on Monday that Judge David Nuffer with the US District Court in Utah had shot down SCO’s attempts to bring an action for Unfair Competition against IBM because the issue is already covered by another breach of contract claim by SCO. On Tuesday, Judge Nuffer issued a ruling on a pair of interference claims which effectively takes whatever winds were left out of SCO’s sails.
Bankrupt SCO, of course, lost their big $1 billion case against IBM long ago when Novell, in a separate case, proved that it, and not SCO, owned the copyrights that SCO was suing over. But SCO’s been struggling to stay alive, hoping to at least win a few bucks from IBM as compensation for all it went through.
The case ruled upon on Tuesday goes back to the time when SCO famously tried to force enterprise Linux users to pay SCO a license fee, since according to SCO, Linux was nothing more than a stolen version of SCO Unix being dressed up under another name. IBM, already a little ticked off at SCO because they’d sued them for the billion dollars, told SCO “hell no,” or words to that effect, when they heard of the licensing scheme, terminated whatever dealings they had left with the company, and just before slamming the door in a huff on their way out, told SCO that they would encourage their partners to do likewise.
I’ll be a son of a gun if right after that a bunch of big SCO customers, folks like Oracle and Computer Associates, didn’t began scaling back or cancelling their business with SCO. Of course, SCO’s CEO Darl McBride didn’t need to be a genius — good thing in his case — to see the handwriting on the wall that was written in invisible ink. Big bad IBM was interfering with their business and had threatened to take these big companies which had been longtime SCO customers for a one way ride if they ever did business with SCO again. Darl was just as sure that this was illegal interference as he was that the BSD code he found in both Linux and SCO Unix had been stolen by IBM.
Eventually SCO did what they do best. They filed a worthless, but expensive, lawsuit.
Judge Nuffer says in his ruling that he sees it a little differently. He says that as far as he can tell, Oracle and the rest, didn’t start scaling back on their business with SCO because of threats of a one way ride from IBM. “[T]here were many other issues in SCO’s business and relationships, at least some of which predated or were entirely independent of IBM, which could have contributed to SCO’s decline, further interrupting any causal chain between IBM and SCO’s alleged injury,” he wrote in his ruling.
I think this good judge has SCO’s number. Anyway, he basically ruled for a dismissal, but first the parties must agree.
The judge goes on to order SCO and IBM to have a sit down and agree or disagree, by February 26, on whether a dismissal is proper and to assign costs. This may or may not put an end to SCO’s claims, depending on how the meeting between the two goes, and IBM still has three counterclaims against SCO.
It ain’t over ’til it’s over, but the light is shining at the end of the tunnel.