Last week, Unix software provider SCO Group (Nasdaq: SCOX ) unleashed a pair of bombshell lawsuits. It sued AutoZone (NYSE: AZO ) for copyright violations regarding Linux and DaimlerChrysler (NYSE: DCX ) on a technicality regarding its Unix license. It is already tangled up in expensive litigation against both IBM (NYSE: IBM ) and Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL ) .
I've said it before: This seems like a really bad way to scare up revenues, and a terrible way to win friends and influence people. Prospective SCO customers will be sure to note that the latest three defendants are all current or past SCO customers.
The latest revelation implies that the architects of the firm's legal assault are less clever than anyone suspected, or perhaps they're just careless. Because its legal eagles neglected to turn off a common feature in Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Word, CNET Networks (Nasdaq: CNET ) found evidence that the original target of the DaimlerChrysler filing was actually Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) . Moreover, the nature of the complaint was completely different: copyright violation instead of a contract dispute.
Are SCO's lawyers just throwing darts at a board and hoping something sticks?
Among CNET's discoveries: SCO only changed the defendant to DaimlerChrysler a couple of weeks ago, on Feb. 18 at 11:10 a.m. The original complaint also made specific allegations against Linux creator Linus Torvalds, and it asked that all of Bank of America's Linux software be impounded. Finally, it asked for damages of $2,500 to $25,000 per machine infraction.
SCO's aggressive tactics have already gathered the entire Linux community -- from individual users to the world's computer giants -- under one banner. With dwindling cash and the entire industry ready to fight, the company looks like it's treading thin ice during spring melt. Given the ham-fisted efforts of its law team, and its haphazard legal strategy, I wouldn't bet that any amount of litigation will keep SCO above water.
Got Linux questions? Consult the experts in the Fool's Linux User's Group.