Novell Rejected In Court Against Microsoft

    June 14, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

A federal judge has dismissed four counts in Novell’s lawsuit, which accuses Microsoft of monopolistic practices.

In the case heard in US District Court in Maryland, the presiding judge said Microsoft did not have a monopoly in the spreadsheet or word processing markets. Judge Frederick Motz dismissed four counts of Novell’s suit on Friday.

However, two counts related to Microsoft’s practices in the operating system market and on exclusionary agreements with original equipment manufacturers were kept by the judge. Novell alleges those practices hurt its business.

Novell has based its civil antitrust suit on the Department of Justice antitrust case, which was settled in 2002. Filing the suit in November of last year, Novell had just settled another suit against Microsoft relating to the Novell NetWare product. Terms of that settlement had Microsoft paying Novell $536 million USD.

Novell claims its one-time ownership of QuattroPro and WordPerfect was worth about $1 billion USD, a far cry from the $170 million Corel paid to acquire the products from Novell.

In allowing the other two counts to go forward, Judge Motz cited a 1997 e-mail that implies Microsoft knew the effect its productivity suite would have on the operating system market.

The e-mail was sent from Microsoft Office division chief Jeff Raikes to investor Warren Buffet. In part, it said: “If we own the key ‘franchises’ built on top of the operating system, we dramatically widen the ‘moat’ that protects the operating system business. 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.”

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.