Novell's lawsuit against Microsoft finally ends with U.S. Supreme Court rejection

A court battle between Novell and Microsoft that began in 2004 finally ended on Monday, thanks to no less than the U.S. Supreme Court; the judges decided not to take up the case which centered on WordPerfect and Windows 95.

Bloomberg reports that the Supreme Court did not offer any addition comment on its decision not to hear the case.  Novell claimed in its 2004 lawsuit that Microsoft deliberately delayed the release of Windows 95 in 1995 in order "to suppress the sales of WordPerfect and Novell's related office productivity applications." Novell sold off WordPerfect and its Quattro Pro application to Corel back in 1996 but still wanted to get $500 million to $1.2 billion from Microsoft in its lawsuit.

The lawsuit went to trial in 2011, which included an appearance in court by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. However, it ended in a mistrial as one member of the jury was unable to reach a verdict. In 2012, a federal appeals court judge threw out the case in a victory for Microsoft; this week's decision should finally put this long running lawsuit to bed.

One interesting tidbit is that Chief Justice John Roberts did not take part in Monday's decision because he was a lawyer in the Justice Department's anti-trust court battle with Microsoft over a decade ago.

Source: Bloomberg | Supreme Court image via Shutterstock

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23 Comments

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I think that MS studiously does not tread on certain families of products like anti-virus software, image editing, etc, since they sell the ecosystem dozens of large companies mostly live on. If MS made serious incursions into some fields, software companies that concentrate mainly on Windows would happily start publishing more aggressively on Linux or Mac. A few things like Office and IIS and such are already heavy investments, but Paint is still Paint and AV programs are bundled for a reason.

Microsoft is not so powerful that it could just decide to enter into a market and automatically succeed. If you think Microsoft could suddenly ("suddenly" being within 5 years) provide a viable alternative to Adobe's main products, most people would not share that gamble with you. It takes an incredible amount of accumulated knowledge, experience and work hours to achieve similar features and quality. Microsoft doesn't have unlimited resources and it does need to choose wisely where to invest.

Yeah I know business is business, but I think at the time MS held back on info about crucial windows API functions so that WP & Lotus 123 for Windows did not stand a chance against MS Office for Windows. but that is history now, the DOS versions were pretty good in there day though,...

Horsepuckey. I had ZERO issues using 1-2-3 in Windows, Windows for Workgroups, or even Windows 95; in fact, 1-2-3 for Windows came out between Windows 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11 - which means that it wasn't an API issue.

Simon Fowkes said,
Yeah I know business is business, but I think at the time MS held back on info about crucial windows API functions so that WP & Lotus 123 for Windows did not stand a chance against MS Office for Windows. but that is history now, the DOS versions were pretty good in there day though,...

There never was a Lotus 123 for Windows. This is the main reason Lotus withered and died.

There was indeed a Lotus 1-2-3 for Windows - in fact, the original SmartSuite productivity suite was FOR Windows - the OS/2 version (SmartSuite/2) came later. My first Windows-based spreadsheet program was, in fact, 1-2-3 (I crossgraded from 1-2-3 for DOS); I didn't move to Excel until after I moved to Office 95. (This was *despite* 1-2-3 for Windows largely being moribund under IBM's management.)

maybe got it wrong about Corel Draw, thinking back (it was a while ago) - don't think ms had a vector drawing program (sorry should really say app/application for the current gen).

Think I am right about the others, have I missed anyone else? :-)

Simon Fowkes said,
maybe got it wrong about Corel Draw, thinking back (it was a while ago) - don't think ms had a vector drawing program (sorry should really say app/application for the current gen).

Think I am right about the others, have I missed anyone else? :-)

Microsoft still doesn't have a vector drawing program.

And you were pretty wrong about the others too. It's called business, and the point of it is to put other people out of it so that you get it all. Competition is only good for the consumer if every party is bringing it all to the table. In those other cases, they were slow to adapt. Lotus 1-2-3 in particular was not a very good spreadsheet program in the long run.

The only 1 you could really say for certain was true was Netscape.

NastySasquatch said,

Microsoft still doesn't have a vector drawing program.

Microsoft has a 'Microsoft Expression Design', although I don't know anyone using it (I'm into graphic and web design). When I last used it, it had less features than even free 'Inkscape'.

Got a feel a bit sorry for the original company Novell though (not the current owners, who are just trying to cash in)

Microsoft has destroyed any companies that it perceived as a threat, to name a few:-

Lotus
Word Perfect
DRDOS
Corel Draw
Novell
oh yeah and of course NetScape

who knows there are probably more, I just cannot think anymore...

Simon Fowkes said,
Got a feel a bit sorry for the original company Novell though (not the current owners, who are just trying to cash in)

Microsoft has destroyed any companies that it perceived as a threat, to name a few:-

Lotus
Word Perfect
DRDOS
Corel Draw
Novell
oh yeah and of course NetScape

who knows there are probably more, I just cannot think anymore...

Corel Draw was more of a threat to Adobe then to MS...

How did MS destroy Corel Draw? They're completely unrelated.

Corel Draw competes with Adobe Illustrator (or what used to be called Macromedia Fireworks)

-Razorfold said,
How did MS destroy Corel Draw? They're completely unrelated.

Corel Draw competes with Adobe Illustrator (or what used to be called Macromedia Fireworks)

Correct me if I am wrong but Illustrator predates Macromedia Fireworks.

-Razorfold said,
How did MS destroy Corel Draw? They're completely unrelated.

Corel Draw competes with Adobe Illustrator (or what used to be called Macromedia Fireworks)

What, what? I owned Illustrator way before Adobe bought Macromedia. Macromedia Fireworks was something completely different

neufuse said,

What, what? I owned Illustrator way before Adobe bought Macromedia. Macromedia Fireworks was something completely different


Whatever, they're both vector graphic editors. Fireworks no longer exists since Adobe combined them and ended it last year lol.

My point still stands, Corel Draw competed with Illustrator and Fireworks.

-Razorfold said,

Whatever, they're both vector graphic editors. Fireworks no longer exists since Adobe combined them and ended it last year lol.

My point still stands, Corel Draw competed with Illustrator and Fireworks.


When did corel draw become a vector image editor? Back when I used it, it was bitmap.

n_K said,

When did corel draw become a vector image editor? Back when I used it, it was bitmap.

According to wikipedia it was always a vector image editor?

Also, Lotus was purchased by IBM (and mostly mismanaged under IBM - especially 1-2-3), WordPerfect shot itself in the foot with WordPerfect 6.0 for Windows breaking compatibility with WordPerfect for DOS (it was for THAT reason that I switched from WordPerfect to Word - specifically Word for Windows 95), DR-DOS was a "blast effects" kill (Windows 95 reduced ALL versions of DOS - including MS-DOS, by the by - to basically sideshow status), CorelDRAW was killed by Adobe (not Microsoft) - specifically by Photoshop Elements. And Netware was killed by a combination of factors - the greatest becoming the primacy of TCP/IP (oddly enough, this protocol was the default for NetWare since 5.0) and NetWare's inability to leverage it, which can be laid squarely at Novell's feet.

Supreme Court did not offer any addition comment on its decision not to hear the case.

probably want to avoid the question if court decision is one of 'benefits' granted to Microsoft when she join the NSA program.

Jeesh, can they finally kick the last pile of dirt on the coffin of this case? I thought the SCO case was bad enough... lulz