PracticeAuditIBM customers face audit threat

IBM customers face audit threat

SCO, the SME software provider, has warned that it may exercise its rights to audit IBM customers that use its unix operating system, as part of a $3bn (£1.8bn) lawsuit filed agains the computer giant.

Link: IBM stocks flutter on news of probe

SCO Group chief executive Darl McBride said the company had terminated IBM’s right to sell its AIX operating system and is seeking $3bn worth of damages.

It has also filed a permanent injunction that requires IBM to ‘cease and desist all use and distribution of AIX’, and to return all copies of Unix source code to SCO.

SCO’s lawsuit claims that IBM broke its contract with SCO, by allowing parts of its Unix V source code, licensed to IBM for use in AIX, to be used in the rival Linux operating system kernel.

In an exclusive interview, McBride told VNU News Centre that SCO was about to embark on the discovery process of its legal case, when it looks for material related to the case.

‘As we move into discovery, this will be very nice for us, because now we get to go in and talk to all their people, their customers. We get to really shake things up and get in to find out what really is going on over there,’ he said.

McBride said SCO has the right to audit IBM’s customers: ‘We have other rights under the contract we are looking at. For example, we can audit IBM customers. SCO has audit rights on its customers. The reality is we are going to discovery right now and that might be the vehicle to be able to investigate what we need there anyway.’

He said SCO’s case against IBM is very strong: ‘The people that have looked at this, both our legal teams as well as independent people coming from the outside, say: ‘These contracts are bullet-proof. This is a very strong contract right you have’.

IBM has refused to make further comment on any of the issues ahead of the lawsuit. But in a statement last week, it said: ‘IBM’s Unix license is irrevocable, perpetual and fully paid up. It cannot be terminated. IBM will defend itself vigorously.’

IBM said it would continue to ship, support and develop AIX and would, as always, stand behind its customers.

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