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SCO's City to City Tour

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Thu Oct 7 20:36:42 2004 SCO's City to City Tour
Posted by Tony Lawrence
Search Keys: lawsuit

SCO used to have quarterly regional meetings for resellers and end-users, but they don't come around for dog and pony shows too often any more. They did do one this month, though, and I attended the MA presentation today. Four SCO folk, seven resellers, one end user.

Let's suspend reality for one moment: there's no lawsuit, SCO is still Linux friendly, yadda yadda.

In that fantasy world, this was a very nice presentation and SCO is absolutely doing the right things: merging OSR5 and UW toward a single SVR6 kernel, marketing a reasonably competent mail server, pushing some other possibly good products. With the real world temporarily suspended, I could have walked out of there feeling very bullish about SCO.

But instead I walked out thinking that this could be the last time they'll ever put on a tour. Back in the not so distant past, ten times this many might attend a meeting like this. The room had twenty chairs total, and of course many were empty. No need for a prize drawing; if you were there, you got the T-Shirt (plain white with a SCO logo, no inflammatory remarks this time) and the NFR software. The lack of interest made a presentation comment about "maintaining good relationships with our reseller channel" somewhat poignant.

In spite of my ill feelings about this incredibly dumb lawsuit, I can't help feeling a little sad. Down the hall, AIM was putting on a shindig, attracting hundreds of people. Our little group couldn't even make a decent dent in the lunch the hotel put out for us.



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© Tony Lawrence




"The lack of interest made a presentation comment about 'maintaining good relationships with our reseller channel' somewhat poignant."

Too bad SCO didn't feel that way before they started all this legal crap. As it says in the Bible (more or less): "As you sow so ye shall reap." SCO planted the seeds of ill will even before the lawsuit mania started and now they are "harvesting" a bumper crop.

In the same vein, I received a call from Corel sales thanking me for being a past reseller of their products (the WordPerfect suite, which I still use every day) and asking me if they could help me in any way to enhance sales. I didn't really know how to reply to that question. It's not as though our front door is being knocked down by people eager to get WP12 loaded on their PC's. The sad fact is I haven't sold WordPerfect to anyone in close to three years. Why? Because Corel is now a nobody in PC productivity software.

Even after the ascendence of Microsoft Office in the mid-1990's, WordPerfect was still the better product -- and still is. It had better graphics, better formatting, a feature for precisely controlling the structure of a document, superior merging functions, etc. Plus, unlike Word, WordPerfect documents were fully backward compatible, meaning a document created with a later Windows version could be opened with an older DOS version. For people like me who did a lot of technical writing, WordPerfect was light-years ahead of anything Microsoft had.

However, WordPerfect was mishandled by Novell when they acquired it in the early 1990's and then bungled some more by Corel. Corel had a chance to recapture market share from the technically inferior (and grossly overpriced) Microsoft Office, but instead pissed off everyone who was trying to sell WordPerfect by dragging their feet on improvements and bug fixes (some of which were really serious).

Adding insult to injury, when a bug was reported, Corel technical support would often get snotty about it and intimate that the person reporting the bug didn't know anything (an attitude that was exactly like SCO's back in the days of Alok Mohan). It got so bad, WordPerfect lost a lot of ground in the one area where it had traditionally been very strong: law offices.

Now, here they (Corel) came looking for help from the same folks that they had POed in the past. Selling productivity software of any kind has never been very profitable for us -- it was usually a money-loser once all the endless phone calls to the vendor to solve problems were factored in.

So I decided to be blunt with the nice lady on the other end of the phone line: we haven't sold a copy of WordPerfect in several years and have stopped recommending it to clients in place of MS Office. She asked why and I explained to her that no one seems to want WordPerfect anymore, and trying to sell it is like whipping a dead horse.

SCO: are you listening? Your horse is almost on its knees.

--BigDumbDinosaur

Kerio Samepage


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