Monday, April 28, 2008

 

4/28 SNR: "Could it really happen!?" Edition

So unless a miracle of the bad kind happens in the next few hours, tomorrow morning will see the start of the long-awaited, long-delayed SCO v. Novell trial. I can't believe it myself, but it really does seem as if they're prepared to go through with it this time. Both sides have filed trial briefs this time, although SCO's arrived in redacted form. It's not clear to me what they hope to gain by that; anything in the trial brief will presumably show up at trial a few days later. I suppose they might try to shoo spectators out of the courtroom for parts of the trial that involve ultra-double-secret Methods And Concepts -- assuming Kimball goes along, of course.

So PJ has a preview of how the trial "should" play out. I'm still not convinced, though. I can't think of a convincing scenario in which SCO delays the trial once again. I haven't seen anyone else come up with such a scenario, either. But I still don't quite believe it's going to happen.

This is what I suspect will turn out to be the key point: Tomorrow is merely the beginning of the trial, not the end. The thing's supposed to take four days, which means it might, or might not. And after those four days, Kimball will rule on the case at some indeterminate point in the future. And once that's happened, SCO's already promised to appeal, on the grounds that the (presumable) verdict is not what they had in mind when they first sued Novell, and they'd like a do-over, please.

The best possible outcome for SCO this week is to be found liable for $0, and that would be a bit surprising. If that happens, I imagine their stock might go up temporarily, and the Norris deal might go forward, and things will seem relatively peachy for a while... until it's time to go ahead with the IBM case.

A more realistic outcome is that SCO's found liable for some or all of the $30M Novell's asking for. There's been some discussion in the last few days about whether the $30M should go to Novell, or back to Sun & Microsoft. Truth be told, I don't particularly care, so long as SCO doesn't have it. If, as seems likely, SCO can't give any money back because they've spent it all on lawyers, it's not great news exactly, but it's still $30M they don't have anymore. So that's something, I guess.

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