Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Judge dismisses most of Novell's lawsuit against M$

Filed under
Microsoft

A U.S. district court judge has thrown out four counts in Novell's antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft, but let stand two other counts accusing the software giant of damaging Novell's business through monopolistic behavior.

In a ruling Friday, Judge Frederick Motz of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland denied Microsoft's motion to dismiss two counts in Novell's lawsuit, which claims Microsoft illegally damaged its efforts to market the WordPerfect word processing application and the Quattro Pro spreadsheet application. Motz let stand two counts based on allegations that Microsoft illegally used its monopoly in the operating system market and on exclusionary agreements with OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).

But Motz threw out four other counts alleging Microsoft monopolies in the word processing and spreadsheet application markets, saying those allegations were never asserted in the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ's) antitrust case against Microsoft, upon which Novell's civil antitrust case is based. The DOJ's case ended with a judge-approved settlement in November 2002.

Novell filed the WordPerfect-related antitrust case in November 2004, within days of settling with Microsoft for antitrust claims related to Novell's NetWare network operating system product. Microsoft agreed to pay Novell $536 million in that settlement.

Representatives of Microsoft and Novell were not immediately available for comment Monday.

Microsoft argued in its motion to dismiss that Novell doesn't have a legitimate claim to damages related to WordPerfect because Novell has sold the rights to the package. But Motz rejected that argument.

Novell merged with WordPerfect in June 1994. In a related transaction at the same time, Novell purchased Quattro Pro, a spreadsheet product, from Borland International. The combined value of WordPerfect and Quattro Pro at the time of the transactions was over $1 billion, according to Novell. WordPerfect and Quattro Pro were then sold to Corel in March 1996 for approximately $170 million.

Microsoft also argued that Novell's claims aren't legitimate because its office productivity packages did not compete in the operating system market, where the government's case proved a Microsoft monopoly. But Motz suggested that Microsoft knew of the effect its operating system monopoly had on other software products. Motz, in his ruling, quoted a 1997 e-mail from Microsoft Office division chief Jeff Raikes to investor Warren Buffet:

"If we own the key 'franchises' built on top of the operating system, we dramatically widen the 'moat' that protects the operating system business," Raikes wrote. "We hope to make a lot of money off these franchises, but even more important is that they should protect our Windows royalty per PC ... And success in those businesses will help increase the opportunity for future pricing discretion."

The lawsuit will move forward at a later date.

By Grant Gross
IDG News Service

More in Tux Machines

Microsoft vs GNU/Linux

Netflix and GNU/Linux

today's howtos

KDE/Qt

  • Device Tailored Compositors with Qt Wayland at CLAAS E-Systems
    Have you heard about software in cars that run on embedded devices? Do you think that creating such software might be challenging? Well, welcome to a complete new world of complexity, welcome to the world of agriculture machines! For many years, automatic steering (on fields), terminals to control the complex mechanical operations of a self-driving 16 ton combine harvester on a soft ground, and self-optimization systems to optimize any tiny bit of your harvester, are key demands from customers. I, myself, am working at CLAAS E-Systems, the electronics and software department within the CLAAS group. Our group is well known for being among the leading manufacturers for combine harvesters, tractors and forage harvesters.
  • Qt Wayland Is Next Appearing On Tractors & Farm Equipment
    With Qt 5.8's Qt Wayland Compositor Framework taking shape, more developers are beginning to tailor a Qt Wayland compositor to their use-cases. One of those is a company specializing in farm equipment like combine harvesters, tractors, and harvesters. As a guest post on the official Qt blog, developer Andreas Cord-Landwehr of CLAAS E-Systems talked up Qt Wayland for their purposes in the highly-regulated agriculture industry.
  • KDevelop 5.1 Open-Source IDE Launches with LLDB and OpenCL Support, Many Changes
    The development team behind the popular, open-source, cross-platform, free and powerful KDevelop IDE (Integrated Development Environment) were proud to announce the official release and general availability of KDevelop 5.1. KDevelop 5.1 is now the most advanced stable version of the application, which is written entirely in Qt and designed to be used on various GNU/Linux distributions that usually ship with the KDE Plasma desktop environment, but also on the latest releases of the Microsoft Windows operating system.