Sun expands Unix deal with SCO

A previously secret licensee of SCO Group's Unix intellectual property has revealed its identity: Unix leader Sun Microsystems.

SCO's Unix licensing plan got a major boost of publicity in May when Microsoft announced its decision to license Unix from SCO, but Sun actually was the first company to sign on. SCO and Sun confirmed the licensing deal on Wednesday. The pact, signed earlier this year, expanded the rights Sun acquired in 1994 to use Unix in its Solaris operating system. But there's more to the relationship: SCO also granted Sun a warrant to buy as many as 210,000 shares of SCO stock at $1.83 per share as part of the licensing deal, according to a regulatory document filed Tuesday.

Sun, the No. 1 seller of Unix servers, declined to comment on the option to take a stake in SCO Group. Fortune on Monday published news of the expanded Sun contract. Sun's expanded license permits Sun to use some software from Unix System V Release 4 for software components called drivers, which let computers use hard drives, network cards and other devices. Sun needed the software for its version of Solaris that runs on Intel servers, Sun spokesman Brett Smith said. A source familiar with the deal said the new contract was signed in February, but neither Sun nor SCO would comment.

SCO, which hasn't had much success selling its own Unix products and which has pulled the plug on its Linux products, is trying to generate more money from its Unix intellectual property. The highest-profile result of that effort has been an SCO lawsuit against IBM that alleges IBM misappropriated SCO trade secrets and violated its Unix contracts, for which SCO now is seeking more than $3 billion.

News source: C|net

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