SCO Buys Web Services Tool Vendor

SCO, which is the center of a legal battle over the intellectual property rights of the Linux operating system, said the acquisition is "strategic" in its SCOx software framework. "SCO is targeting web services as a platform for growth," Jeff Hunsaker, senior vice president of marketing, said in a statement.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Web services is an umbrella term for an emerging set of standards for applications. The specifications make it possible to build standard interfaces, so software running on disparate systems can communicate across a network.

Vultus's WebFace tools, which are now available through SCO, enable developers to build the presentation layer for web applications. The so-called rich client contains many of the visual navigation and presentation features found on Windows applications running on a PC.

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Vultus's clients run on a web browser and communicate with applications running on a server via web services standards, which means it doesn't matter whether the server is running the software on the Java 2 enterprise or Microsoft .Net platforms. The browser-based client does not require a plug-in.

Ronald Schmelzer, analyst for market research firm ZapThink LLC, said the acquisition was interesting because of Vultus's focus on the presentation layer of web services applications. "It's a bold move by SCO, since not even IBM or Microsoft have put a lot of thought or emphasis on the presentation layer of web services," Schmelzer said. "It's also necessary since SCO doesn't have any strong presentation layer capabilities of their own."

Besides technology, the acquisition adds to SCO's Global Services division a team of developers skillful in web application migration, integration and development, company officials said.

SCO sells a technology framework called SCOx for its Unix operating system. The architecture enables developers to build and deploy applications that support XML, SOAP, WSDL and other core web services standards. With Vultus, SCO is becoming a "one-stop shop" by which companies can buy an operating system, application server, web services platform and user interface layer.

"It remains to be seen, however, how influential SCO will be in the grand scheme of things," Schmelzer said. "SCO has managed to raise their visibility on the CIO and CTO's radar due to their notorious Linux licensing challenge, but now that they're on the CTO and CIO's radar, they have to offer something of compelling value."

SCO is the catalyst of industry turmoil over Linux. The Lindon, Utah, company claims the open source operating system contains its proprietary code and wants royalties from enterprises and vendors using the Unix-based OS. As part of its battle over Linux, SCO is suing IBM for alleged breach of contract and trade-secret theft.

Investment firm Canopy Group, founded by former Novell chief executive Ray Noorda, is an investor in SCO and Lindon, Utah-based, Vultus, which competes with tool vendors Curl, Nexaweb Technologies, Versalent and others.

This story courtesy of TechWeb.