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The worst mergers and acquisitions in tech history
Updated: February 12, 2014: Valentine's Day is here again, and love is in the air. Couples flirting, courting each other and forming relationships. And sometimes those relationships result in marriage.
In the tech world, much of the same types of things occur. And as with human relationships they also can end up in marriages -- also known as corporate mergers. Mergers can result in the two parts being stronger than the whole, or they can end in utter disaster.
Here are worst tech industry mergers that we've ever set our sorry eyes on. To quote the J. Geils Band in their 1980 Rock n' Roll hit, LOVE STINKS.
Caldera & SCO
Once a prosperous, medium-sized and laid-back Northern California software company that produced successful and reliable vertical market UNIX operating systems for x86-based servers throughout the 1980s through the early 2000's, the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) began its demise shortly after being acquired by Caldera, Inc., a Linux vendor based out of Provo, Utah.
Part of the Ray Noorda-backed family of companies known as the Canopy Group, the company re-named itself "The SCO Group" and soon began to find itself in a bit of an identity crisis.
SCO Group's first incoming CEO and former CEO of Caldera Ransom Love wanted to merge Caldera and SCO's Linux and UNIX product lines, and create a best of breed OS. Indeed, that would have been a marriage worth consummating.
SCO had partnered with Intel, IBM and Sequent briefly during the mid-1990s on "Project Monterrey", an attempt to unify, merge and port the best aspects of the company's UNIXWare OS and IBM's AIX to the new Intel Itanium as well as IBM's POWER processor.
With the rise in popularity of Linux and 64-bit x86 chips, interest in Itanium waned and the effort to market the completed IA-64 variant was scuttled.
SCO's failure to market the IA-64 version of Monterey resulted in Ransom Love being pushed aside and succeeded by Darl Mcbride. With McBride at the helm of SCO, the company became entirely focused on litigation as opposed to product development.
SCO not only sued IBM for alleged contributions of Monterey code to the Open Source Linux kernel, but also large customers, end-users and vendors of various Linux OSes, including Red Hat and Novell.
This turned the company into a pariah not only among the legion of Open Source and Linux developers but SCO's own customers and the entire technology industry. The litigation debacle went on for years, chronicled in gory detail on sites such as Groklaw.
SCO's sales of UNIX products went down the toilet, and was forced to lay off virtually all of its employees to focus entirely on its lawsuits.
In 2007, SCO filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In 2009, Darl Mcbride was fired. Early in 2011, UnXis Inc purchased SCO's remaining UNIX software assets.