Microsoft wins motion to dismiss Novell antitrust suit

Microsoft wins motion to dismiss Novell antitrust suit

Summary: A U.S. federal judge has finally laid to rest a long-running suit against Microsoft --- brought by Novell --- over alleged antitrust behavior.

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Finally. After nearly a decade of to-ing and fro-ing from the courtroom, a U.S. judge has ended a suit that allege antitrust issues as far back as the launch of Windows 95.

Following an eight-week trial ending in December with a hung jury, Novell was pressing for close to $1 billion in damages for antitrust violations committed by Microsoft while Microsoft founder Bill Gates was still at the helm.

But today, U.S. District Judge Frederick Motz ruled that Novell can no longer pursue the case against Microsoft.

In the ruling, Motz wrote:

"Although Novell presented evidence from which a jury could have found that Microsoft engaged in aggressive conduct, perhaps to monopolize or attempt to monopolize the applications market, it did not present evidence sufficient for a jury to find that Microsoft committed any acts that violated s.2 [of the Sherman Act; U.S. antitrust laws] in maintaining its monopoly in the operating systems market. Therefore, Microsoft’s motion [to dismiss] will be granted."

Utah-based Novell kicked off the suit in 2004 claiming Gates' decision a decade earlier to pull away from supporting its WordPerfect and Quattro Pro software. Novell said this broke U.S. antitrust laws because the move was to harm WordPerfect's chance to compete --- only a year after Novell bought the office software to compete with Microsoft outside of the networking space. 

Novell claimed Microsoft held back on interoperability details needed to make its software work on Windows, but Microsoft fired back with its own retorts that the company's own "mismanagement" was to blame.

Microsoft's Office suite ultimately took off well ahead of Novell's, while the rival said it had to rewrite the software following Microsoft's withdrawing of support. This ultimately delayed Novell's push to getting its products on the market, which gave Microsoft Office enough time to storm ahead. 

After much back and forth, Novell settled one potential antitrust suit with Microsoft over NetWare for $536 million, but held back on settling over its WordPerfect and Quattro Pro suits.

David Howard, Microsoft's deputy general counsel, today said: "We’ve maintained throughout this case that Novell’s arguments lack merit, and we’re gratified with today’s ruling dismissing the last of Novell’s claims and putting this matter to rest."

Novell did not respond for comment.

Update on July 17, 3:50 p.m. BST: corrected the dates. The claims stem back to around the launch of Windows 95, but the court case did not begin until 2004.

Image credit: Wikipedia via CBS News.

Topics: Microsoft, Government US, Legal

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30 comments
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  • Time to go to the next level

    Maybe even the Supreme Court to see if they'll hear it.

    Let's hope they do. If not then the greedy monopoly wins.
    CaviarBlack
    • No, the consumers lose.

      This "Greedy" monopoly has created employment for untold millions around the globe. It alone caused the internet to move forward at a pace not possible w/o the rise of windows.
      If Apple with it's 2000 or 3000.00 computers were in control in the 90s, where woudl that have gotten the web? nowhere, we'd be 20 years behind where we are today. Sun had no desktop offering, SCO, AT&T...even IBM was shunned for their proprietary overpriced PCs, and those were the Goliaths of the computer industry at the time. I'm sick of hearing how MSFT somehow foiled SUN, IBM, APPLE, SCO, AT&T and the rest with "trickery and deceipt". If those companies had a technology to rival the business model MSFT was smart enough to have adopted, they could have squashed MSFT.
      Ironically, Novell is the company that purchased DR-DOS the moment it was poised to compete against MS-DOS. There was NO retail versions of MSFT software that prohibited DR-DOS from being installed. That was all beta software and NEVER was a reality.
      If you read the history, you will see that DR-DOS was purchased by Novell, just when it was ready to be a real competitor (I knew several people using it) and repurposed it as a network client. That is the actual historical facts. MSFT was "lucky" for that. l-u-c-k-y. Nothing more.
      As said, the Titans of software, such as SUN and Mr. McNeally who whas given his business by the FEDs during the Unix push by the Nixon administration. He took his Stanford University Network technology that was bought and paid for with tax dollars, which hence has been the source of any *x technology that followed. (in case you didn't realize how many taxpayer dollers went to Standford, Berkeley, Cerf and his group, and many others , if you translated the money into todays dollars, you'd be looking at Trillions of dollars to make something of Unix. Linux and all variations were the benefactors of my Father's and I'm sure my own tax dollars to this day are still paying that off. AND McNeally was given Anti Trust EXEMPTION to build SUN as big and large as possible. ) So you tell me that MSFT had the advantages and somehow a tiny company rose to the biggest software maker in teh world all by "trickery and deciet" when the GIANTs sat idlly by. They didn't have the vision, plain and simple.
      All large companies play very aggressively and if any were to have the success of MSFT and investigated, you woudl find the same behaviors. I've seen it across the board in large companies, haven't you? Look at Apple today, and ironically they were left out of the picture by Judge Jackson so he could make up a new area of computing he could shoehorn ONLY MSFT into. He said Apple was not a viable competitor. Does that still hold true?
      Hell, Apple and Google are only where they are today because of riding the back of MSFT Windows. Google search and the iPod would be Nothing...nada...zilch...w/o windows to ride on via search or iTunes for Windows. Imagine the ipod if iTunes only ran on the Mac. It would be just another bit player.
      Thank Goodness for MSFT, so that all families could afford a computer around the world, and not only the elite with their Macs. That caused the Web to accelerate so rapidly the vision of Gates to allow all people to have a computer is just the beginning of the greatness that MSFT Windows provided. The jobs, the web...the impact for the good of the world is literally immeasurable.
      xuniL_z
      • Backwards z_Linux sounds scared

        After the long ramble up above, he sounds as scared of the DOJ as he does with Linux's puny 1% marketshare.

        But keep kissing that corporate ass, z_Linux. You need those apron strings. You'd be nothing without them.
        CaviarBlack
        • Strawman attack. Nice.

          You know everything I wrote is historical fact, so you had to try and resort to discrediting me with childish insults. Anyone worth their salt see right through you.
          Yes, I use Windows and very sucessfully, thank you. MSFT doesn't know me from Adam, I chose my technology like you did.
          It's you and your ilk that shouts from the rooftops how easy Linux is to use. The fact my OS is made by a for profit company (actually, yours is as well most likely) and I have decided it's ok to pay for it, and help keep the wheels turning on the best economic system on the face of the earth, you somehow think that makes someone less of a person?
          I do feel the need to point out the truth, when someone starts to show an agenda and spreading misinformation. But you, you need help good sir. My 8 year old child has the ability to see the differences in other kids and embrace them and I'm guessing you are a grown-ass man and you've still not learned to cope with people that don't agree with you. Perhaps there is a medication you could be put on.
          xuniL_z
          • It's the typical corporate bootlicker rant

            No need to go into any great detail. You have your tongue up M$ ass and you can't get it out.

            Dat simple.

            :D
            CaviarBlack
          • I didn't come here....

            for a graphic description of your date with your bf.

            You are disgusting, no matter how many times you change your nic, you can't cover up your stank.
            xuniL_z
          • Correction

            You have your tongue up Ballmer ass and you can't let go.

            Sorry about that.

            LOL... LOL...
            CaviarBlack
          • Normally I'd say that's a bit too much,

            but noting the string of posts, I'll vote it up. Ballmer, BTW, did whine that if Obama didn't give him some entitlements, he would offshore jobs. Web search "Ballmer threatens Obama 2009 businessinsider" to find the article. Unfortunately, MS had been offshoring for years, taking corporate welfare and lots of it (ctj), lying to congress about H1Bs and driving down salaries (mydd), and saying to representative Grassley how Microsoft had no moral imperative to hire Americans (businessinsider). And despite their actions with the BSA, they openly tolerate piracy in China ('How Microsoft Conquered China', per a July 2007 article from Fortune magazine)

            Based on corporate actions rather than marketed words, I'll go by actions... words are for dictionaries. Oh, and all of those sources' articles can be found with simple web searches.
            HypnoToad72
          • Oops, this post was to be addressed to CaviarBlack

            Not the koolaid drinker...
            HypnoToad72
          • Well, I can prove you wrong

            1. It's not your OS. You license it, but the EULA clearly states it is not yours.

            Given I just proved you wrong on one issue...

            See one of my responses below, which states some facts and cites the names of the entities that published the pertinent articles. I added extra detail to some of them to make web searching easier, since posting URLs is tantamount to posting spam... do a web search, find those articles, and you will realize just how wrong you are on these issues.

            So, having said all that, should we also take your word about your child at face value, or should we be demanding proof - assuming we still care about your apparently un-medicated state as well, I hope you don't mind my using your language under the circumstances?
            HypnoToad72
      • Sorry, but customers should demand ethics...

        These marketers' goals are not for everyone to have something, but to profit off of everybody. You've probably never read that take on the visions, missions statements, and other ersatz memes before... except what you just read is far closer to reality, and not the shiny happy claim.

        Microsoft's predatory tactics have harmed others. I'm sorry if you disagree. You may swallow all their kool-aid all you want, but Microsoft has no moral imperative to return your generosity either...
        HypnoToad72
      • Hey x, you should find people who have been betrayed by your pied piper

        Look up "How h1b fraud is killing America", "Bill Gates Busted - Microsoft lies to press and congress", and a few more articles that really put the damper on your oh-so-noble claims... but I do understand it's more fun to snuggle with a myth with one's eyes closed than to look at reality. The company has taken tons in corporate welfare and used it to prop themselves up while they offshore and destroy lives... and do you know what a "tax shelter" is?

        I know you like to believe that company is altruistic, but if it were then no American worker at Microsoft would have lost their job thanks to this leechery you're endorsing... but then I doubt you've read up on the company, apart from what they spoon-feed you.
        HypnoToad72
  • And Novell will appeal (again), of course.

    More information is available on Groklaw:
    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20120716144156998
    Zogg
    • Let's hope they do

      Take it as far as they can.
      CaviarBlack
  • I'm Not Sure If They Presented Their Best Case

    I'm not sure if Novell really presented their best case or not. The various roadblocks Microsoft threw up for interoperability for Novell's products in the nineties, though, seem fairly compelling in view of similar cases already won against Microsoft for similar tactics they used during the eighties and nineties.
    CFWhitman
  • Microsoft wins motion to dismiss Novell antitrust suit

    Kudos to Microsoft's legal team.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Shaddup

      Don't you have egg on your face. Idiot.
      CaviarBlack
      • That's nothing compared to your overly Green complexion.

        Green with envy.
        Read history. Novell pulled DR-DOS out of competing with MS-DOS when it had it's best shot to make it a network client when it bought out DR, showing it had no business competing at that level. After a blunder like that, this who suit is nothing but sour grapes and crying themselves a river. They lost. Period, end of story.

        People like you amaze me. You'll claim that MSFT crushed someone, like Netscape, with some evil plot. But if you look at the whole story, you'll see that Netscape was being publically cocky about "crushing" Mosaic. That's where "Mozilla" came from Mosaic - Killa.
        What comes around goes around? Or something like that? Or are you the typical ABMer that finds those stories just a good old heartwarming business story of winners and loser, but anything MSFT is evil and corrupt.
        Did you know that Netscape pulled support for HTML 4 before there was any evidence that IE was going to take it's marketshare? I used Netscape at that time and planned to continue until Netscape jumped ship on me and millions of others.
        There are 2 sides to every story, but I can see you only ever see one of them.
        I'm not saying MSFT never played really hard ball, but all businesses do. They owe that to their investors to try and increase and maintain market. That's capitalism. If you don't like it, there are plenty of socialist countries to take up residence.
        xuniL_z
        • Hey, you can shaddup too

          Ya long, rambling dikk...

          lol...
          CaviarBlack
          • And if you mean that....

            and feel you can back it up, give me your name and address and then we'll see if you'll still be saying it, F***tard.
            xuniL_z