Unix software specialist SCO is likely to be the subject of a takeover bid following the launch of its Tarantella package this Thursday, according to an unpublished report obtained by PC Week.
Tarantella, revolutionary software for network computing, is described in the document as "a very clever idea" and "strong technology" which will help lift SCO out of the doldrums. Paradoxically, "this success may lead to an unwelcome takeover", said the report, an update to analyst Ovum's European Software Markets Service due out in November.
IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Sun could all gain from acquiring SCO, according to Laurent Lachal, senior analyst at Ovum. He noted that, significantly, IBM has recently adopted SCO UnixWare, rather than its own AIX, as the Unix operating system for its PCs. HP, which is co-developing the 64-bit Merced microprocessor with Intel, would be interested in the work SCO has been doing on 64-bit UnixWare, explained Lachal. As for Sun, Lachal added: "Sun desperately needs a presence in the Intel market."
David Taylor, marketing director at SCO, dismissed the speculation, saying: "SCO is not up for sale."
Tarantella is an application server for network computing, analogous to Citrix' multi-user WinFrame product for NT. Tarantella, however, is designed to deliver multi-user access to any type of application - be it Unix, Windows or mainframe - from any Java-enabled client without requiring additional software to be installed on that device. No other product on the market today has similar capabilities.
According to SCO, where Tarantella stands out is in the way applications are delivered to thin clients. SCO has developed an Adaptive Internet Protocol (AIP) which it says is able to detect the user's device and network connection and adapts dynamically to optimise performance over the network.
Also, unlike competitive solutions, Tarantella uses a three-tier architecture.
The company claims the server software can be slotted into existing IT infrastructure almost as a black box.
At its launch Tarantella will be available on SCO UnixWare 2.1.2+ and Sparc Solaris 2.4+. SCO expects to ship a version for SCO Open-Server, HP-UX, IBM AIX and Windows NT Server in late 1998.
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