Caldera name change puts Unix first

UnitedLinux member Caldera International says it's changing its name to the SCO Group--a move that pulls the company away from Linux into the Unix camp, according to analysts.

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Caldera International announced on Monday that it is changing its name to the SCO Group, hoping SCO's greater brand recognition will draw more attention to the company.

Lindon, Utah-based Caldera is a distributor of two popular SCO Unix versions--OpenServer and UnixWare--which it acquired in 2000. The company also distributes Linux and is a member of the UnitedLinux effort to promote a uniform version of the operating system for corporations.

"The coexistence and collaboration of Unix and Linux systems from a single source offers our customers and channel partners a powerful choice of solutions, backed by a name (SCO) that powers millions of servers around the world," said Darl McBride, now chief executive of SCO.

Caldera plans to adopt "SCOX" as its new trading symbol.

Analysts said the name change reflects simple market economics: Nearly 95 percent of the company's revenues come from its Unix products, not from Linux.

"This company really is a Unix company and not a Linux company at this time," said Al Gillen, an analyst at IDC.

Unix operating systems from SCO, or the Santa Cruz Operation, have long been a favorite among Unix devotees. The move makes Caldera the latest software maker to change to a corporate name more familiar to customers in order to gain greater recognition.

Inprise, a software development toolmaker, went back to calling itself Borland several years ago, after abandoning the Borland name despite its high recognition among millions of software developers. The move seems to have worked: The company recently reported increased revenues, and its products are doing well.

Losing faith in Linux?
Linux, though gaining in popularity, is chiefly used on powerful networked server computers, not on the desktops and laptops used by average people.

Profits from the operating system software have proved elusive. The UnitedLinux effort launched by several second-tier Linux companies is widely seen as an attempt to compete for critical mass with market leader Red Hat.

"Red Hat definitely has a branding lead; we recognize that Red Hat is perceived as a market leader," said Reg Broughton, senior vice president of worldwide operation for SCO. "But we believe that the UnitedLinux consortium can overtake Red Hat in a short time."

Gillen disagrees with that assertion. "Does the name change do anything vis-?-vis their position with Red Hat? I think the answer is no. In fact, if anything, this moves the organization further away from being a Linux vendor and more into the Unix camp."

Broughton said, however, he does not see Linux supplanting Unix. "We have not seen a replacement of Unix systems by Linux, by either Red Hat's or our own Linux," said Broughton.