Microsoft goes on trial this week against Novell

Microsoft is going to court in Utah this week to defend itself against a lawsuit filed by Novell. The Associated Press (Via ABCNews.com) reports that the trial concerns a lawsuit that Novell filed in 2004 but the events in the lawsuit go all the way back to the launch of Microsoft's Windows 95 operating system. Novell claims in its lawsuit that Microsoft deliberately delayed the release of Windows 95 in order "to suppress the sales of WordPerfect and Novell's related office productivity applications." Even though Novell sold off WordPerfect and its Quattro Pro application to Corel back in 1996, Novell is still asking the court to award them between $500 million to $1.2 billion in its lawsuit against Microsoft.

Novell's attorney Max Wheeler said that he was "confident that after hearing the evidence in this case, the jury will conclude that Microsoft's conduct was anti-competitive, that Microsoft targeted Novell and WordPerfect with this anti-competitive conduct, and that Microsoft's conduct caused substantial damages to the WordPerfect business."

For its part, Microsoft says that any delays in the release of Windows 95 was due to trying to figure out what features to put in and what to keep out of its operating system. Microsoft attorney Steve Aeschbacher is quoted as saying, "The law basically doesn't require people to design their products to the whim or demand of other companies. You get to design your own products."  The trial itself could last eight weeks and Aeschbacher says that Microsoft chairman Bill Gates could be called in to testify. He says, "We put him in our will-call list, so we expect him to be here."

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Novell bought WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, and other software products from WordPerfect Corporation and Borland International back in 1994. Novell released one version of an office suite called PerfectOffice 3.0 in Standard and Professional editions. In 1996, Novell sold these productivity programs to Corel Corporation.

Now here they are, 17 years later, trying to get over $1B for something they released one time. Corel Corporation continues to sell their WordPerfect Office suite (current version X5), and I don't see them suing Microsoft because they didn't custom tailor Windows 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, or 7 to suit their profit margin.

Well if the Novell guys would keep their mono builds up, and get monoDroid working, I'm sure MS would happily throw money at them. Instead this looks like another attempt at money for nothin.

(Mono is the Linux .NET implementation)

Funny thing is, if we were in 2000, you guys would be taking a ginormous dump on Microsoft (oh no no, wait... m|cr0$$$$|-|@f+, that's better), and would be rooting for Linux because they're 1337 with linux. ph33r!!!11

No seriously, you guys definitely would be wishing for Microsoft to fail. But now that MS-Hate no longer is the flavor of the day, you root for MS because that's what the cool kids do.

Chica Ami said,
Another reason why Microsoft sucks, they force people to use their products in order to keep the competitors away.

Wat?

Chica Ami said,
Another reason why Microsoft sucks, they force people to use their products in order to keep the competitors away.

That affirmation is so stupid. No one force people to anything. You do if you want it.

Aren't Microsoft and Novell in some kind of agreement? Isn't that why technically it's legal for Suse Linux users to utilize some proprietary Microsoft technologies because Novell has a deal with them? Where's this coming from then?

Gerowen said,
Aren't Microsoft and Novell in some kind of agreement? Isn't that why technically it's legal for Suse Linux users to utilize some proprietary Microsoft technologies because Novell has a deal with them? Where's this coming from then?

That agreement has nothing to do with this issue. Just because two companies have agreements and contracts in certain areas, that does not mean that they can't still have issues in other areas. For example, Apple suing Samsung for patent violations, yet Samsung is Apple's largest supplier of parts for their iDevices

Gerowen said,
Aren't Microsoft and Novell in some kind of agreement? Isn't that why technically it's legal for Suse Linux users to utilize some proprietary Microsoft technologies because Novell has a deal with them? Where's this coming from then?

Agreements are specific to the terms, so company dealings outside of a contract would have no bearing.

However, if legally permitted in the agreement, Microsoft could pull their usage rights from SuSE.

Sadly, Microsoft seldom seems to use this type of wording in their contracts or agreements. There are ways to add into any agreement/contract - something like:
"If you or your company attempts to bring harm, sue, etc our company for any reason, we can terminate this contract at our digression."

However Microsoft doesn't force this into their dealings.

What is great about Novell, is if you been around long enough, you will notice which side of their mouth they are talking out of before you assess any credibility. (Public grandstand vs real intent - etc)

Word Perfect was doomed back in 1990, before Novell owned them. They had 98% of the WordProcessing Market, had 5.0 and 5.1 with new mouse support, and was slowly developing nothing as their users were happy. Microsoft tried to get them to produce WordPerfect for Windows as 3.0's popularity was going through the roof, surprising even Microsoft. In the exchanges between WordPerfect and Microsoft, Microsoft was begging and even went as far as offering them a development team to help with the project.

Wordperfect felt they owned Wordprocessing, that Wordperfect worked fine in a DOS window and told Microsoft to go pound sand.

A couple of years later, they were in court complaining that Microsoft Word used undocumented APIs and this is why their product sucked on Windows and why Microsoft ruined them. (The 'undocumented' APIs were technically not 'documented' but exposed, and could be easily read by any moron, that ever wrote a line of code.)

WordPerfect was so 'locked' into their thinking they wanted to control the Fonts, and the Printer Drivers. Which was the most insane piece of the puzzle, as the WP printer driver technology was far below the GDI/Win3.x printer driver technology.

So WordPerfect, bypassed the printers, and crashed and had WYSIWYG issues, and was a nightmare until the late 90s. We ripped it off of thousands of computers during the late 90s. Several OEMs had 'exclusive' deals with Novell, that required them to load Wordperfect on EVERY PC THEY SOLD. (Sound familiar uh? - Companies always had done those agreements and still do, btw.)


Novell, it is your turn to do what your little Company you bought along the way told Microsoft... Go pound sand.

The Corel Era versions of Wordperfect are the only things that even resemble real software that doesn't bypass the OS features and is fairly stable. Sadly it is way late for them. (AmiPro was another brilliant product, that stopped producing, and it had the chops to keep ahead of Microsoft Word easily.)

Hey judge, remember back in 1995 when Microsoft was in a position where they could do anti-competitive things? Well, we sort of missed our chance back then and we'd be really grateful if you could give us some of that monopoly money. We kind of feel left out.

As another person who can remember the Chicago beta with relative clarity, I don't see how MS could've intentionally set the gold release around whatever Novell was doing at the time.

Even if the dates lined up perfectly, Microsoft's legal is pretty spot on; nowhere does the law imply companies have to release products around the schedules of other companies. I don't understand how Novell feels like they aren't coming across as anything other than butthurt. And I usually try to be open minded about these lawsuits, especially when I'm in a sea of people who will one day say using the courts is just a sign that you can't compete (Microsoft patent suits, etc) and the next day give a hip-hip-hoorah and a go-get-'em-boys! when Samsung sues Apple.

mDaWg said,
What a bunch of idiots arguing over bull****... Isn't this world amazing?

Indeed. This has to be the most ridiculous lawsuit I've ever heard (And the tech world is full of gems like this)... lol

I was a big part of the Windows 95 beta (Chicago), and I am positive that it was not delayed because of any Novell products. Not to mention this is 16 years later...

James Rose said,
I was a big part of the Windows 95 beta (Chicago), and I am positive that it was not delayed because of any Novell products. Not to mention this is 16 years later...

The delay would have also prevented other companies from releasing products for Windows 95 anyway, including Microsoft. So it's not as if they were deliberately targeting Novell.

neo158 said,

The delay would have also prevented other companies from releasing products for Windows 95 anyway, including Microsoft. So it's not as if they were deliberately targeting Novell.

+1. It's absurd.

neo158 said,

The delay would have also prevented other companies from releasing products for Windows 95 anyway, including Microsoft. So it's not as if they were deliberately targeting Novell.

Except that MS wanted other companies to release products on the Win95 platform. More apps meant more people who would want to upgrade. The lack of apps is one reason OS2 failed. Also, the delay could help companies be better prepared for the release. (I was at the release event at MS campus and there were a number of vendors there with apps for Win95)

That same delay could have given Novell more time to have a better product out when Win95 came out, like everybody else....

I don't understand this lawsuit....

TruckWEB said,
That same delay could have given Novell more time to have a better product out when Win95 came out, like everybody else....

I don't understand this lawsuit....

I believe that Novell's point is that MS released Win95 at the same time as a Novell product so that people would not notice that the Novell product was released.

And if so, then there is a point; When Win95 was released it was on the front page of basically every paper in the world. It was a big event, even outside of the tech circles. That does not mean that MS did anything legally wrong. Poor Novell, another company that almost had it.

James Rose said,
I believe that Novell's point is that MS released Win95 at the same time as a Novell product so that people would not notice that the Novell product was released.
Microsoft has never shown itself to be that good at marketing. I wonder if they can use that fact in court?

James Rose said,
I was a big part of the Windows 95 beta (Chicago), and I am positive that it was not delayed because of any Novell products. Not to mention this is 16 years later...

Haha yeah, it's like with memphis and support for 16 monitors, but they boasted too soon because of the complexity and it shipped with support for only 2!

James Rose said,

I believe that Novell's point is that MS released Win95 at the same time as a Novell product so that people would not notice that the Novell product was released.

Oh, so that's where Apple got it from.

neo158 said,

The delay would have also prevented other companies from releasing products for Windows 95 anyway, including Microsoft. So it's not as if they were deliberately targeting Novell.

would be like if someone sued microsoft for delaying mango for windows phone if they made an app for it