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Novell Claims Microsoft Disparaged It

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Novell Inc. has filed suit claiming Microsoft Corp. unlawfully disparaged Novell and its products in promotional materials.

The suit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City asks that Microsoft be prohibited from making the allegedly false statements and that the Redmond, Wash.-based firm be ordered to recall the promotional materials which suggested Novell was abandoning its NetWare network operating system software.

The suit also seeks unspecified monetary damages.

``Microsoft has tried to create ... uncertainty within Novell's customer base and to discourage future customers from doing business with Novell,'' said Stewart Nelson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Provo, Utah, networking-software firm.

The suit said Microsoft sent a box to future and existing users of NetWare, Novell's premier software product.

The box parodies a Captain Crunch cereal box and contained Microsoft software used to integrate the company's products with Novell products. The box bears the title, ``Server Crunch,'' and says, ``What's the expiration date on that NetWare platform?''

It suggests that as a result of Novell's recent merger with Cambridge Technology Partners, the company is shifting its focus from software development to consulting.

``You're left with a server platform without the full support of its manufacturer,'' it says.

Novell maintains it is not shifting its focus nor will it cease to support its software.

``There is no expiration date for NetWare. NetWare has been and continues to be Novell's flagship software offering,'' Novell said in a statement.

Microsoft had not seen the suit and had no immediate comment.
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