The rumour mill in the US is awash with gossip that Microsoft is funding the SCO Group in its litigation against IBM and others over the free software system Linux. This was fuelled further by a leaked email from an SCO consultant to SCO Group vice-president Chris Sontag and SCO chief financial officer Bob Bench. It reads: “Microsoft will have brought in $86 million [£47.4m] for us…” “Why do we care?” Tulkinghorn hears you cry. Well, SCO’s litigation is being run by none other than Microsoft’s arch enemy David Boies of Boies Schiller & Flexner, who advised the US government on its antitrust battles with Microsoft.
Microsoft claimed that “the email was simply a misunderstanding of the facts by an outside consultant”. But according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing by SCO, a licensing deal with Microsoft accounted for 21 per cent of SCO’s revenue last year, some $16.6m (£9.2m). So, one way or another, Microsoft is paying Boies.
The latest revelations follow another SEC filing last year, which revealed that Boies could receive $49.4m (£27.2m) or more for his work on the Linux software dispute.
Bill Gates may be well known for his philanthropy, but isn’t charity supposed to be for the needy?