RealTime IT News

SCO Aims at SMBs with Web Services

The SCO Group threw its hat into the Web services ring Wednesday with a new technology framework that brings together resellers and developers to package applications and services targeted at small-to-medium businesses (SMBs).

Dubbed SCOx, the new strategy aims to leverage applications for SCO's UNIX and Linux platforms so that SMBs can expose them as Web services.

"This solution combines the best of Web services, locally hosted applications and Web hosted applications to create a seamless business solution especially focused on small and medium businesses," SCOsource senior vice president and general manager Chris Sontag told internetnews.com. "We're very excited about it."

SCO said SCOx will allow customers to access their SCO applications and services online, and will allow for the integration of any Web services-enabled applications, including Microsoft .NET and SunOne J2EE applications. The company has already begun rolling out portions of its SCOx framework which are designed to help developers enable their applications for Web services.

"Through their reseller channel, SCO has been a mainstay of the SMB and branch office markets for many years," said Laura DiDio, senior analyst with The Yankee Group. "SCOx should play very nicely with many of SCO's stakeholders since it allows vertical application providers a greater reach to customers through Web services as well as provide SCO resellers with a recurring revenue stream."

SCO already supports more than 4,000 applications on its platforms -- including applications focused on vertical markets like manufacturing, pharmacy, retail and finance. With SCOx, the company seeks to give developers the tools to integrate those applications with its e-business solutions, like its SCObiz platform, which provides e-commerce support for SMBs and branch offices. SCO said integration between the applications and SCObiz will help customers share information between tradition applications and e-business services, for instance allowing an onsite inventory management system to share data in real-time with an online shopping cart.

The company said it plans to roll out the majority of SCOx's components by its annual SCO Forum conference in August.

Sontag said SCO's SCOx initiative is proof that the company is not just depending on its intellectual property for revenues, a fear that was expressed in the wake of the company's announcement in March that it was suing IBM for $1 billion for violation of its UNIX license. That move came two months after SCO unveiled SCOsource, a new branch of the company focused on licensing its intellectual property, specifically the Unix System 5 libraries for Linux.

"SCOsource is just one small part of what SCO is doing," Sontag said. "The majority of the company is working on next generation versions of the UNIX operating system and on Linux products."

SCO sued IBM for allegedly misusing trade secrets after IBM walked away from a joint project with SCO which sought to create an Intel Itanium version of SCO's UnixWare. IBM scrapped the effort, dubbed Project Monterey, when it decided to focus its attention on Linux rather than UNIX. But SCO maintained that IBM's rapid strides with Linux were built on trade secrets it garnered from Project Monterey -- especially the integration of UNIX System 5 libraries with Linux, which allows the Linux platform to run many UNIX applications.

"Things came to a head at LinuxWorld, and we decided our only choice was to file a suit," Sontag said.

Since SCO filed the suit, IBM requested that it be removed to federal court and SCO agreed. The action has now moved to federal court in Salt Lake City, Utah, and IBM has requested an extension to give it time to respond to SCO's initial filing. Once IBM responds, Sontag said the case will move into the discovery phase.

"Our full intent is to see this through all the way," Sontag said. "We're well resourced to be able to do that."