Judge throws out Novell's case against Microsoft

It's been going on for years, but this week, a judge has ruled in favor of Microsoft in a court case that centers on the now defunct WordPerfect software. About eight years ago, Novell filed a lawsuit, claiming that Microsoft deliberately delayed the release of WordPerfect on Windows 95 in order "to suppress the sales of WordPerfect and Novell's related office productivity applications."

The case finally came to trial in 2011 and ended with a hung jury. One person out of the 12 jury members felt that Novell had not proved their case. As it turned out, a judge has agreed with that one jury member. Ars Technica reports that US District Court Judge J. Frederick Motz has dismissed the case.

In his ruling, Judge Motz points out that WordPerfect's market share of the office productively software industry was already at 15 percent around the time Novell claims that Microsoft tried to suppress WordPerfect support in Microsoft's Windows 95 operating system.  Even if WordPerfect had launched with Windows 95, the judge ruled that it was unlikely to be successful with such a low market share.

In a statement, Microsoft 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." However, this case isn't over yet. Novell claims they will appeal the judge's ruling.

Source: Ars Technica

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11 Comments

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I tried WordPerfect long before I ever laid hands or eyes on Word.

Hated it. I tried another version somewhere down the line, really trying to keep an open mind, but still hated it just as much.

I wish it would finish dying.

MASTER260 said,
Wait, what?! "Defunct?!" They still make WordPerfect, right?!

'They' don't... It still exists though, but is made by Corel.

Even Novell's 'ownership' is a bit limited in the lawsuit, as they bought it after the initial problems of the insane Windows 3.x version that bypassed the Print Spooler and the GDI of Windows, which was unstable and didn't even print properly using the WP engine.

I used WP for DOS, when the version for Windows came out I was eager to try it. Eventually, I gave it up for Word, because it had a clunky, unintuitive interface. That had nothing to do with the Windows API, WordPerfect just didn't know how to design for GUIs. Microsoft had a close history working with Apple on Mac software.

By the time Windows 95 was out, I wasn't interested anymore.

The ironic thing was that WordPerfect 6 for Windows had a well-designed GUI. The problem was that it came too late. WordPerfect 5.1 for Windows had killed the product -- you had to use a DOS installer, for crying out loud! And WordPerfect 5.2 wasn't enough to salvage the product line.

Is this sentence correct? "Microsoft deliberately delayed the release of WordPerfect on Windows 95" As MS has/had no effect on how other companies released their software.

I was a beta tester for Windows 95 and I was also at the launch event on the MS campus, and WP/Novell was no where to be seen that day, but there were a number of other vendors with 32 bit software that was available. SEEMS like a case of sour grapes.

James Rose said,
was a beta tester for Windows 95 and I was also at the launch event on the MS campus, and WP/Novell was no where to be seen that day, but there were a number of other vendors with 32 bit software that was available. SEEMS like a case of sour grapes.

WordPerfect was late for Windows 3.0. They were late to Windows 3.1. And by the time they were (guess what) late for Windows 95, the market share battle had already tipped.

Indeed, both WordPerfect and Lotus made major strategic mistakes for Windows 95, by attempting to tie a major new release to the 32-bit port. There are two ways this could fail: (1) Windows 95 is late and you can't sell your product before Windows 95 comes out (2) your own product is late and you have nothing to sell when Windows 95 comes out.

Microsoft did not make the same mistake. The major upgrade was left to Office 97, so that it was decoupled from Windows 95. And Office 95 was designed as a minor upgrade that focused on the 32-bit port rather than on major new features.

Ha I remember WordPerfect. That used to be "the" software to know way back in the day (in an office environment). Funny to look back at those times when compared to today. Sad to think about tomorrow looking back and laughing at us today.

I totally forgot that this was still out there waiting for a decision. Not that this matters anymore. as this happened about 17 years ago. I disagree with the Judge but I respect his decision. I miss Reveal Codes!! This is the nail in the coffin for MS Word competition to this day. Before this hits, no the freebee Word-clones (openoffice and libreoffice) are not good enough IMHO.

NeoPogo said,
Before this hits, no the freebee Word-clones (openoffice and libreoffice) are not good enough IMHO.

For the majority of people, they are. People just don't realize because everyone says they NEED Office or they just don't know of it. We put on all our machines at school for students to use, even though we have a site license for Office 2003. Then they can use at home also. Plus I love the built-in PDF support. Glad it finally made it into the new Office versions.