The SCO Group has confirmed that the email attributed to long-time pal and former colleague of Darl McBride, Mike Anderer, is genuine. But it says that Eric Raymond's characterization of this as "a smoking gun" - implying Microsoft is behind SCO's legal campaign against Linux - is incorrect. Raymond published the leaked email on his opensource.org site this morning, and claims it reveals "the extent of SCO's sock-puppet relationship to its masters in Redmond", according to Raymond.
In the email to SCO VP Chris Sontag dated last October, Anderer boasts "Microsoft will have brough [sic] in $86 million for us including Baystar." BayStar Capital invested $50 million in the SCO Group in October. Anderer, a former colleague of McBride when the two were executives at the IKON group's integration services division, signed on with SCO in July 2003. Anderer receives a fee of $120,000 and percentages for introductions to potential licensees, customers or M&A targets.
SCO doesn't deny there's a relationship, but says Raymond has mischaracterized it.
"We believe the email was simply a misunderstanding of the facts by an outside consultant who was working on a specific unrelated project to the Baystar transaction," SCO's Blake Stowell told us.
"Contrary to the misunderstanding of Eric Raymond, Microsoft did not orchestrate or participate in the Baystar transaction."
The email certainly leaves plenty of room for ambiguities. Anderer cites a 'referral', so SCO may well be telling the truth when it invites us to infer that Microsoft was simply adding an enthusiastic blessing to BayStar's investment, and encouraging other investment firms to take a punt, too.
But remarkably little attention has been another incoherent fragment from Anderer's Sontag email.
"The will help us a lot and if we execute we could exit and Unix componients we have build potentially back to Microsoft or MCS," Anderer writes.
Exit what? And is that 'Build' or 'billed'? We'll let you know. ®