Friday, October 27, 2006
- Word on the street is that layoffs are underway at SCO. I'd caution that this is an unconfirmed rumor, but Bob Mims is asking around about it, and he isn't wrong very often.
If the rumor's true, it's hard to say whether this is good news or not. Obviously it would be a great sign that SCO's in real trouble. On the other hand, layoffs would reduce their burn rate and let them hold out longer, at least in theory.
I doubt they're at the point yet where they become just a Pink Sheet ticker symbol with no assets or revenue, operating out of a P.O. Box in the Cayman Islands. I expect the people losing their jobs (again, assuming the rumor's true) are most likely worker bees, ordinary people with kids and mortgages. They aren't going to lay off anyone who can id the skeletons in the closet. Hell, they'll probably all get bonuses. That, or plum new busywork jobs, quietly shuffling TPS reports somewhere behind the Black Gate of Redmond.
- Hamjudo2000 on IV points out that on October 31st, SCO will finish writing off the value of their Unix technology. (Also see this followup, or even better, read the whole thread.) I'm not an accountant, nor do I play one on TV, so I don't have much of anything to add about this. However, it's the only measure we've got of what SCO thinks its Unix IP (if any) is worth, so these numbers just might come up at trial, in the current cases and/or a future BK case.
- I try to avoid political topics here, but Boies is involved, so I thought I'd pass the item along. Seems there's a new Dixie Chicks concert film out, and NBC and the new "CW" network won't show ads for it. The distributor isn't happy about that, and has recruited Boies to make some threatening noises about free speech and whatnot.
Call me cynical, but when Big Media companies argue over free speech, you can be sure they're really arguing over money.
- Meanwhile, Brent Hatch (from SCO's other law firm) is keeping busy as well, and it's possible he's got a much bigger damage control job on his hands than anything he's had to do for Darl & Co. He represents a Utah company called UnSpam, part of the state's cottage industry of "online child protection" outfits. UnSpam maintains a registry of kids' email addresses. Parents can add their kids' email addresses to this opt-out registry, and purveyors of "bad spam" are supposed to not spam anyone on the list of addresses. Their business model works a lot like CP80's, in that it only works if there's a law on the books making the technology mandatory, with fines or prison time for violators. Make it mandatory, and then start a business to provide the newly-mandatory service. Unlike CP80, UnSpam actually got their law passed in Utah and Michigan. The list of addresses was supposed to be super-secret but it, um, leaked out earlier this month. Oops. This comes in the middle of a suit by an industry group called the "E-mail Service Provider Coalition", which argues the law is unduly burdensome. They've moved for an injunction to block the law, and the hearing on the motion is on Nov. 9th, in the courtroom of none other than our own Judge Kimball.
- A new Shankland piece about Oracle's move into Linux support. I'm no analyst, myself, but I can see Oracle database customers going for this, so they'll have one support deal that covers their whole stack. If you aren't running any Oracle products, though, I don't really see the point. It might be cheaper than RHAT if that's really all you're buying, but you'll probably get weekly visits from Oracle's legendary, aggressive sales force. You might think military recruiters put on the hard sell, but you ain't seen nothin' until you've met an Oracle sales rep. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, necessarily; just that you ought to be aware of what you're getting yourself into.
- Yet another thing for Darl & Co. to lose sleep over: Utah has pelicans, and today's pelicans aren't just fish-eaters anymore. Don't be so surprised; Steven Spielberg figured it all out years ago. Remember the shot at the very end of Jurassic Park, where you see a flock of pelicans over the ocean and for a moment you think they're pterodactyls? There's a reason for that, is all I'm sayin'. The odds of having actual velociraptors prowling the streets of Lindon are fairly remote, so pelicans may be our best bet at this point.
- A funny list of The 50 Worst Video Game Names of All Time. I am a complete and utter non-gamer, and I only recognize a couple of the names on the list. I think I played the arcade version of "Bad Dudes" once or twice, but that's it.
I've never seen anyone compile a list of "worst software product names". If anybody's working on that, I'd like to nominate "SCO Me, Inc. HipCheck".
- And from the same gamer site, a piece about the Gizmondo con job. Darl and Ralphie ought to take some lessons from this Eriksson guy and learn how the game is played. If you're running a litigation/stock scam, incurring public wrath, ruining your reputation, risking prison, and running the whole company into the ground, and you don't even get a Ferrari out of the deal, what's the freakin' point of it all? If Darl was really a big-league player, he'd still be swaggering around and living the good life and burning company cash like there's no tomorrow, regardless of how bad the financial and legal details look. Instead, he rarely speaks to the media, and during conference calls he drones on like a broken man. Pathetic.
Which brings us to another Fundamental Law of Business: If your business is just a song-and-dance, be sure you can sing and dance well -- and be ready to dance til dawn if you have to.