Microsoft have announced a massive out of court settlement worth $536 million with Novell. The settlement relates to anti-trust claims Novell made against Microsoft, with relation to Novell's Netware product amongst others.
The agreement states that Novell will drop anti-trust claims against Microsoft (in the US and the rest of the world); Novell will also stop intervening in the EU's anti-trust case against Microsoft. Microsoft will pay $536 million to Novell, and will also cease counter claims against Microsoft; Microsoft also highlighted that unlike previous settlements, they would not be licensing Novell technology as part of the agreement. Interestingly, it also makes no reference (or implication) of any wrong doing on Microsoft's part. The $1/2 billion would appear to be just a happy co-incidence.
It was also noted that the two businesses were unable to reach a conclusion on the issue of WordPerfect patent claims between 94 and 96. Novell have announced that they intent to take Microsoft to court to resolve the issue; Novell claim that Microsoft's actions at the time were to eliminate competition in the desktop word processing market. Microsoft will now update its Q1 results to include this decision, making Microsoft's net income $2.53bn.
Interestingly, Microsoft also announced that they believe that they now have exposure to (i.e. might expect to pay out on) approx. $1bn worth of anti-trust claims.