09.02.10

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Bloomberg Gets the Facts Wrong (About SCO and Novell)

Posted in Courtroom, Deception, Finance, GNU/Linux, Novell, SCO at 2:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bloomberg Television logo

“After sixteen months spent seeding the trade press, it was time to think of the end users. For this, Waggener Edstrom leaked exclusive Windows 95 puff stories to all of the important newspapers and publications.”

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s Pam Edstrom

Summary: Another example of Bloomberg publishing misinformation, which in this case serves SCO and thus harms Linux

TECHRIGHTS is not a big fan of Bloomberg, a publication which occasionally squeezes in some Microsoft "puff" pieces. Newspapers that do this can be described as “whore journalism” and since they act like PR entities rather than informers it’s hardly surprising that they get their facts wrong, too.

The SCO case is a textbook example of a case where media misdirection created a real sense of fear out of an empty allegation (which even 7 years down the line SCO fails to prove). Now, watch what happens when Bloomberg relies on SCO — rather than an investigative journalist — for information (this even reached Slashdot‘s front page). The following text is false:

The Chapter 11 trustee for software developer SCO Group Inc. will sell the assets at auction on Oct. 25.

At a hearing last week, the bankruptcy judge in Delaware approved sale procedures where bids are due Oct. 15. No buyer is yet under contract. The hearing for approval of the sale will take place Nov. 8.

The bankruptcy judge called for a Chapter 11 trustee in August 2009, about one month before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in the company’s favor after six years of litigation with Waltham, Massachusetts-based Novell Inc. The case went back to the district court, where the judge and jury further clarified SCO’s rights in certain Unix software incorporated in software for network systems.

With the property interest clarified, the trustee is now selling the assets.

After bankruptcy in September 2007, SCO and an affiliate filed schedules listing combined assets of $14.2 million and debt totaling $5.2 million.

The case is In re SCO Group Inc., 07-11337, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

“No wonder Bloomberg got it so wrong today [see News Picks],” Groklaw wrote. “That’s the trouble with fibs and spin. They detach your mind from reality. Over time, that can’t be good for anybody’s mental health.”

Bloomberg got its facts very wrong, like the hypnosis about Novell as an "open source" company (which it’s not). Groklaw has already responded to the above in detail:

Heh heh. They are incorrigible. Not exactly the whole story, eh? What he won was a jury trial to *determine* the ownership of UNIX and UnixWare copyrights and contract rights, but the jury at the trial said Novell retained ownership of the copyrights for UNIX and UnixWare in 1995-6, and the judge ruled that Novell had the right to waive contractual violations, so SCO lost completely, despite the Court of Appeals granting SCO that extra bite of the apple with a jury trial. Which, I must point out, reached exactly the same conclusion that the first judge had on summary judgment way back in August of 2007. Singer’s bio makes it sound like SCO prevailed. No wonder Bloomberg got it so wrong today [see News Picks]. That’s the trouble with fibs and spin. They detach your mind from reality. Over time, that can’t be good for anybody’s mental health.

To annul spin and deception (e.g. “SCO owing UNIX”, “Microsoft ‘IP’ ‘stolen’ by Linux”, “Linus Torvalds ‘stealing’ from MINIX” etc.) reporters will need to do some homework. Receiving answers from marketing people is easy; receiving truth proves to be a lot harder and “professional” reporters have time constraints, not just editorial control which imperils judgment/expression.

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