Microsoft-Novell trial goes to the jury

After nearly two months, the Salt Lake City jury in the case between Microsoft and Novel is now in deliberations. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the jury was given instructions today by the judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Frederick Motz, before going into the jury room to decide the fate of this long running dispute between the two companies.

At issue is a lawsuit filed by Novell several years ago that claimed 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.

The lawsuit finally went to trial in mid-October. In November, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates himself testified in the case for two days. Gates and Microsoft's attorneys have claimed that Microsoft feared that Novell's WordPerfect might crash Windows 95.

If the jury does in fact find in favor of Novell in this case, Judge Motz could impose an even bigger penalty on Microsoft than the one Novell had asked for which could go as high as $3 billion.

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