Microsoft asks judge to dismiss Novell-WordPerfect case

The current anti-trust jury trial between Microsoft and Novell may end quicker than anticipated. The Associated Press (via ABCNews.com) reports that Microsoft's attorneys in the Salt Lake City trial asked U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz on Friday to dismiss the case entirely. Motz said that he would reserve a decision on the matter until later.

Novell claimed in its original lawsuit that Microsoft deliberately delayed the release of its Windows 95 operating system in the 1990s in order "to suppress the sales of WordPerfect and Novell's related office productivity applications." Novell sold off WordPerfect and its Quattro Pro applications to Corel back in 1996. Even with this sale, Novell is still asking the court to award them between $500 million to $1.2 billion in its lawsuit against Microsoft.

In the trial, which started in October, Microsoft's attorneys argued that the version of WordPerfect that was submitted to Microsoft for Windows 95 threatened to crash the operating system and that Novell's problems with WordPerfect were their own fault.

One of Novell's former CEOs testified in the case that he tried to take the company's complaints about its treatment by Microsoft directly to its chairman Bill Gates. On Friday, Judge Motz questioned Novell's attorneys, asking if there was any other evidence such as emails or letters that would back up such a claim. Novell's lawyers didn't produce such evidence which prompted Microsoft's attorneys to ask for a dismissal.

If Judge Motz rules that the jury trial should continue, Microsoft will begin presenting its full defense on Monday. Gates is expected to testify during this portion of the trial.

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