Judge dismisses Microsoft antitrust case
Novell accused Microsoft of damaging its business by rejecting WordPerfect for Windows 95
A US judge has dismissed Novell's billion dollar antitrust court case against Microsoft, after the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict, according to the Press Association.
Novell had claimed that Microsoft tricked it into developing its WordPerfect writing programme for Windows 95, and then pulled the plug, so that Microsoft Word could gain the majority market share.
Novell claimed that it was then forced to sell WordPerfect for a $1.2bn loss.
Jurors told the judge they were ‘hopelessly deadlocked' on Friday, after two days of deliberation.
The jurors had expressed confusion to the judge about the case throughout deliberations, and on Friday, the judge denied a request from one juror to be removed from the case.
Microsoft lawyers have argued that Novell did not develop a Windows 95 compatible version of WordPerfect until long after Windows 95 was released, resulting in loss of market share.
WordPerfect had nearly 50% of the market for word processing, but its share plummeted to less than 10% as Microsoft's Office programmes took hold.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates testified last month and said that he did not know his decision to drop a tool for outside developers would sidetrack Novell. Gates said the decision not to use WordPerfect was because it caused Windows to crash. Novell could have worked around the problem but failed to react quickly, he said.
Novell argued that Gates ordered Microsoft engineers to reject WordPerfect as a Windows 95 word processing application because he feared it was too good.