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Sequent Computer Systems Inc says it clearly cannot carry on developing all of its Unix system software requirements, including 64-bit technology, which is why it must find a partner for future source code. Who will spend the most money developing Unix, and who will be the best partner are its criteria. Santa Cruz Operation Inc? Not viable, as Sequent’s said before. Hewlett-Packard Co? HP is cooking its Intel Corp goose, but Sequent doesn’t believe HP’s long-term commitment to providing HP-UX Unix on Intel is high. Its feeling is that Intel is really a Windows NT play for HP and that priority will be given to maintaining Unix for its PA-RISC-based systems and providing a strong migration path to NT. Sun Microsystems Inc? Sun’s the only real Unix bigot left. Moreover Sequent says it can’t avoid running into speculation that once SCO’s royalty payments to Novell Inc for the UnixWare technology stream it acquired in 1995 ceases, then one of these companies is likely to step in and acquire the struggling Unix company in any case. SCO’s royalty stream to Novell is based upon a complicated formula where SCO makes periodic payments to Novell according to how much UnixWare it sells, the value of which is not to exceed $84m. This revenue stream will end in 2002. SCO says it last week adopted a ‘poison pill’ shareholder’s rights plan for no other reason than to protect itself against the possibility of the hostile acquisition of its shares, a possibility when its stock has ridden as low as almost $3 like it did back in July.

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