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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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