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Jurors unable to reach verdict in Microsoft-Novell Windows 95 antitrust case

Jurors in a federal court antitrust case involving Microsoft and Novell were unable to reach an unanimous verdict today in a case that deals with Microsoft and its predatory behavior towards the WordPerfect productivity suite back in the 1990s.

Novell claims that Microsoft purposely delayed releasing Windows 95 in order to harm Novell’s WordPerfect application software business, back in the 1990s, in an attempt to crust the competition when it came to the Office Productivity market. Microsoft, however, continues to argue that the delay had nothing to do with Novell, instead, was because the company needed more time to decide on what features to include in the operating system. On top of that, Novell also sued Microsoft for violating antitrust laws by having arrangements with other computer makers. Those allegations were dropped, except for a few, which include the delayed releasing of Windows 95.

During Bill Gate’s testimony in court, Gates stated that Novell couldn’t deliver a Windows 95 compatible WordPerfect program in time for the rollout of the operating system, so Microsoft went with its own Word software. Gates also stated that Word was infact better than WordPerfect. By 1994, Microsoft’s Word was ranked #1 in the market, above WordPerfect.

U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz dismissed the jurors as they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict today. Some of the jurors were reportedly in tears after the verdict, for some reason. “We are terribly disappointed,” Novell’s attorney Jim Lundberg stated.

Microsoft also issued a statement saying, “we are disappointed that the jury was unable to reach a verdict. However, we very much appreciate their service throughout the trial, and we remain confident that Novell’s claims here do not have merit, and look forward to the next steps in the process.”

Novell was looking for as much as $1.3 billion dollars in monetary damages from Microsoft.

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