Novell Begins Closing Arguments in Microsoft-WordPerfect Antitrust Trial
By Joel Rosenblatt – Dec 13, 2011 10:24 AM ET
Novell Inc. (NOVL) began closing arguments today in its case claiming Microsoft Corp. unfairly used its monopoly on personal computer operating systems to suppress WordPerfect, a rival word-processing program.
In defending the case in federal court in Salt Lake City, Microsoft called Chairman Bill Gates as a witness last month. Gates testified that he “absolutely” denied the central allegation of Novell’s suit: that in 1994, in developing the Windows 95 operating system, Microsoft blocked an element of the software to thwart Novell’s WordPerfect and Quattro Pro programs.
Novell is seeking as much as $1 billion in damages, which would be tripled under antitrust law.
Novell, which was bought by Seattle-based Attachmate Corp. in April, has argued that WordPerfect’s share of the word- processing market fell to less than 10 percent in 1996 from almost 50 percent in 1990.
Its value dropped from $1.2 billion in May 1994 to $170 million in 1996, when it was sold to Ottawa-based Corel Corp., said Novell. The company settled separate antitrust claims against Microsoft for $536 million in 2004.
The case is Novell Inc. v. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), 04-01045, U.S. District Court, District of Utah (Salt Lake City).
To contact the reporter on this story: Joel Rosenblatt in Salt Lake City federal court at 7129 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at email@example.com