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Friday, November 12, 2004

Novell Sues Microsoft For Beating WordPerfect

Citing anticompetitive practices used in the 1990s, Novell sued Microsoft today for capturing the desktop software market from WordPerfect. Novell claims MS withheld important information about Windows, information that Office developers obviously had, in order to make WordPerfect less competitive. Novell clearly waited until after Microsoft paid them $536 million earlier this week to settle litigation regarding NetWare. The two companies had tried to come to an agreement on WordPerfect as well, but when that failed, they settled on NetWare and left WordPerfect to the courts.

Microsoft issued a statement blaiming Novell mismanagement for the failure, and saying Novell had no claim, since it only owned WordPerfect for a short period of time, from 1994 to 1996, and is ths outside the statute of limitations. Microsoft notes that Novell stock fell 15% the day it bought the product for roughly a billion dollars. Also, Novell decided not to release a Windows version, a move that devalued the program to the point where it was eventually sold to Corel for $170 million, one-eighth the purchase price. Microsoft also made a bold move, at least according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, when it claimed that the Windows information is protected as a trade secret, and that it is allowed to withhold that information to protect itself. Microsoft has cash reserves of $64.4 billion.

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