After a little over seven years, the antitrust suit that Novell filed against Microsoft is finally nearing a close. Novell sued Microsoft and claimed that the software developer “unfairly used its monopoly on personal computer operating systems to suppress WordPerfect, a rival word-processing program” to Microsoft’s own word-processing platform, Word.
Novell made its closing arguments in the trial yesterday, reiterating their claim that Microsoft deliberately sabotaged WordPerfect by tampering with programmer’s access to extensions and thus making it impossible for WordPerfect to run properly on Windows. Novell has argued that their precipitous decline of shares in the word-processing market, falling from 50% in 1990 to a lowly 10% in 1996, is a direct result of Microsoft suppressing WordPerfect’s access and successful operation.
Microsoft has countered Novell’s claims in press releases, stating that the lack of quality in WordPerfect was due to Novell’s “own mismanagement and poor business decisions.” Microsoft defends itself further by arguing that, as of 1994, WordPerfect had already begun to decline in popularity and value and again places that blame on Novell, who they say had hoped to deprive “Windows of a key application [and] limit the success of Windows.”
Jurors are scheduled to begin deliberating tomorrow if not later today.
I barely remember even using WordPerfect in my youth, but should Microsoft be found liable for the lack of availability of WordPerfect, I will then have to wonder how many times in my past I wouldn’t have gritted the words, “I hate Microsoft Word,” or, “I hate OpenOffice,” because I could’ve been using WordPerfect instead.
Then again, if it was still around, it’s just as likely I would’ve been muttering, “I hate WordPerfect,” too. Some people. They’re never satisfied.