1994 called and wants Bill Gates to explain an email in court

Bill Gates is a household name when it comes to computers in the home and in 1994 sent an email which he now has to defend in court. The complaint, as broken down by Mary-Jo Foley, is that Novell's products were sabotaged by Microsoft in favor of its own products.

The basis of the complaint is that Microsoft did not give Novell the required information to optimize its Word Perfect and Quattro Pro line of products. The basis for Novell's defense is an email that Bill Gates sent way back in 1994, approximately 17 years ago, which may be older than some of the people reading this posting.

While we are all for protecting a company against anticompetitive actions, this complaint seems to have dragged on for a ridiculous amount of time. Not to mention that Novell does not even own some of the software for which they are now in court; Word Perfect was sold to Corel 12 years ago.

So, to defend Microsoft in the case, Bill Gates is taking to the stand to defend the company. The Salt Lake Tribune states:

Novell had purchased WordPerfect and other software programs in 1994 in order to compete head-to-head with Microsoft. It claims Gates’ decision to withdraw the previously promoted features of Windows 95 was meant to try to give Microsoft time to develop its own programs such as Word and the spreadsheet Excel and, ultimately, to help it maintain its monopoly in computer operating systems.

Which brings us up to the current date with Bill Gates taking the stand to defend such actions. And what does Novell want in return for these alleged practices 17 years ago for software that it no longer owns? A billion dollars. 

Gates is expected to take the stand this week. 

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43 Comments

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It happened more than 5yrs ago and they're just now ****ing and moaning about it.... If I was the judge in this I'd have to be asking what the hell have they been smoking

The crazy thing is that in 1990, Microsoft begged Wordperfect and Lotus and Novell for products for Windows and better interoperability.

Wordperfect and Lotus told MS to go pound sand, as they had the market and assumed Windows 3.0 was a short term fad.

Wordperfect also didn't want to abandon all their work with printer drivers, which is what helped them keep their market. Moving to Windows meant they no longer had to write for specific printers. However, Wordperfect when they finally did attempt a Windows version, they bypassed a lot of internal systems in Windows, with the Printer engine being one of them, resulting in horrible printing options and problems for Wordperfect for Windows.

Microsoft's Word commitment to Windows was rather lackluster in the company, as they assumed Wordperfect and others would still remain the leaders and Word would primarily be a Mac product. When Wordperfect gave Microsoft the finger, Word development for Windows was increased as Microsoft knew from the Macintosh, a powerful Word processor was key to product viability, which Word played a role in for the Mac as well.

Wordperfect's claims about APIs and derailing are borderline hyperbole, as some had nothing to do with Word or Wordperfect. Also part of the 'derailing' Wordperfect claims comes from them bypassing the Windows Printer Engine, and the problems Wordperfect ran into by doing this.

There is an analogous story with WP7 developers that are ignoring it now, and if WP7 does what Windows 3.0 did, it would be the same as Wordperfect did, if they come back in two years and claim that Microsoft derailed their product, when it was their decisions and choices before the platform was popular that derailed them, not Microsoft.

The basis for Novell's defense is an email that Bill Gates sent way back in 1994, approximately 17 years ago, which may be older than some of the people reading this posting.

Yep. 1994... the year I was born, and they're going to court about this now?

As one of the original beta tester for MS of Windows 95, it was not ready and most application that had not been re-compiled for it crashed the system. MS own apps could crash the system, causing the GUI not to load. Word Perfect was so un-stable under Windows 95, they removed it from the list of testing apps.

MS made changes and fixed the issues that were happening. The stability of the system was improved and finally all the pieces fell into place. It all worked out with the changes they put into place and the programs did not crash the system as much. WP still crashed every once in a while, but it did not do it as much as it did before. The solve from WP was to release WP for OS/2 which solved the crash issue from there point of view.

Novell is still around? People still use WordPerfect? More importantly, people still care? After a certain about of time, trivial crap like this should be thrown out or just completely inadmissible.

bjoswald said,
Novell is still around? People still use WordPerfect? More importantly, people still care? After a certain about of time, trivial crap like this should be thrown out or just completely inadmissible.

novell doesnt even use wordperfect, they sold it a long time ago.

if someone asked me to explain an e-mail written 17 years ago I probably would say I have no idea what i was thinking... heck i'd be shocked to remember writing it

Jose_49 said,
Oooh. Time to relieve "The Social Network" once more

there is more relevant movies to this then the social network that came out in the past

neufuse said,

there is more relevant movies to this then the social network that came out in the past


Pirates of Silicon Valley?^^

Hm... So there's an alleged e-mail that no one can see now... Sounds like more ridiculous nonsense. I can't wait for this case to be dismissed...

Glassed Silver said,

Yes.
Linux (both personal (opensuse) and enterprise solutions)

GS:mac

Oh, Linux. I should have known it would be Linux.

Enron said,
Is Novell still relevant in any capacity?

sadly, i have to deal with Novell sentinel at work and its an utter horror. Simple things like resizing windows are supported, and the security is a complete JOKE(think honour system)

Jaxkesa said,

wtf does GS:mac mean?

Ahaha I asked that once and got roughly six responses telling me what it meant. It's Glassed Silver's signature of sorts. G(lassed)S(ilver):(posting from)(device)

smartin0115 said,

My school uses them for Network Security. It's SUCH a joke.

Not anymore, they got new servers and respectively new security (wpa2 shared).

n_K said,

glassed silver probably on a (slow) mac

Wouldn't call the latest generation on i7 slow, but yea.

People who don't like what they read, well, you're welcome to complain, doesn't mean I will change my individual decision, though!

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,

Wouldn't call the latest generation on i7 slow, but yea.

People who don't like what they read, well, you're welcome to complain, doesn't mean I will change my individual decision, though!

GS:mac

Mac products: slow or overpriced: choose one.

Slayer said,

Mac products: slow or overpriced: choose one.


Overpriced if just the raw power is all you want, agreed.
I want more with my computer, so thank you!

GS:mac

Neobond said,
LOL Novell..

Novell called and.... they wanted their relevancy back *puts on sunglasses* YYYEEEEAAAAHHHHHHHHH

Ently said,

Novell called and.... they wanted their relevancy back *puts on sunglasses* YYYEEEEAAAAHHHHHHHHH


Make sure you wear your sunglasses at night! (you young grasshoppers will likely not get that)

Ently said,

Novell called and.... they wanted their relevancy back *puts on sunglasses* YYYEEEEAAAAHHHHHHHHH


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA *breathe* hahaha