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Supreme Court Gives Go Ahead To Novell Vs. Microsoft Antitrust Suit


Richmond (VA) - Microsoft and Novell are currently known as partners, but an anti-trust lawsuit will soon severely test that "marriage". The United States Supreme Court is allowing Novell to sue Microsoft for unfair business practices over office suite software, namely WordPerfect and Quattro.

Back in 2004, Novell sued Microsoft for "deliberately targeted" sales/marketing campaign that attacked Novell’s WordPerfect and QuattroPro applications. This attack ended in with demise of WordPerfect and QuattroPro applications. The lawsuit claims that Microsoft targeted those applications because they ran on different operating systems, posing a significant threat to the
dominance of Windows operating system. Novell also claims that it couldn’t make WordPerfect function correctly on Windows operating systems because Microsoft did not provide sufficient technical details.

Microsoft’s defense relied on the fact that Novell isn’t a player in operating system market. However, with the fact that Novell owns SuSE Linux distribution, that defense line just did not make any sense.

Back in the early 1990s, WordPerfect and Quattro were the top dogs in the word processing and spreadsheet markets. However that lead quickly evaporated with the release of Microsoft Office and Novell’s problems in getting WordPerfect to function on Windows 95. WordPerfect is still sold, but its use is relegated mainly to government and legal firms that refuse to change programs.

According to an order list from the Supreme Court dated March 17th, Microsoft’s Writ of Certiorari was denied. It also said that Chief Justice John Roberts, owner of MSFT stock, decided not to vote in this decision that ended with Microsoft’s request being thrown out and allowed the suit to proceed. How will this affect current partnership, remains to be seen. One thing is certain: lawyers will be quite happy.