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

High-end 'upstream' Linux laptop plans to ship in April

They said in working up hardware, they carefully designed the laptop "chip by chip" to work with open source software. The 4.4-pound laptop runs Linux. This is a GNU-based distribution, more specifically, the Trisquel GNU/Linux, "the strictest of distributions and strips all binary blobs from the Linux kernel." At the same time, they said laptop owners, if they want, can easily install anything less strict, such as Debian and Ubuntu. The machine has a 15.6" display in either 1920x1080 or 3840x2160 with a 60Hz refresh rate, 720p camera and HD Audio. It has a CD/DVD ROM drive. They used Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200. It has a 48 Wh lithium polymer battery with about eight hours of usage. Read more

Android essentials: 13 apps I can't live without

We spend a lot of time talking about Lollipop and OS-level issues with Android -- but you know what's just as important as the operating system on your phone or tablet? The apps that surround it. The right apps can make your device easier and more enjoyable to use. They can give it powers you didn't know were possible. They can make it feel like your own custom-tailored gadget -- whether you've been using it for two minutes or for two years. Read more

GHOST, a critical Linux security hole, is revealed

Researchers at cloud security company Qualys have discovered a major security hole, GHOST (CVE-2015-0235), in the Linux GNU C Library (glbibc). This vulnerability enables hackers to remotely take control of systems without even knowing any system IDs or passwords. Qualys alerted the major Linux distributors about the security hole quickly and most have now released patches for it. Josh Bressers, manager of the Red Hat product security team said in an interview that, "Red Hat got word of this about a week ago. Updates to fix GHOST on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5, 6, and 7 are now available via the Red Hat Network." This hole exists in any Linux system that was built with glibc-2.2, which was released on November 10, 2000. Qualys found that the bug had actually been patched with a minor bug fix released on May 21, 2013 between the releases of glibc-2.17 and glibc-2.18. Read more

4MLinux Allinone Edition 11.0 Is a Complete OS

4MLinux Allinone Edition, a Linux distro that encompasses multiple tools for Maintenance (system rescue Live CD), Multimedia (e.g. playing video DVDs), Miniserver (using the inetd daemon), and Mystery (Linux games), is finally out of the Beta stages and has reached version 11.0. Read more