MS ANTITRUST - Judge throws out parts of Novell lawsuit

A judge dismisses four counts of Novell's antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft, but allows two counts to move forward.

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 US$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 US$1 billion, according to Novell. WordPerfect and Quattro Pro were then sold to Corel in March 1996 for approximately US$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.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?