Novell sues Microsoft over alleged antitrust with WordPerfect in mid-1990s

Friday, November 12th 2004, 3:18 pm
By: News On 6

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Days after collecting a $536 million antitrust settlement from Microsoft Corp., Novell returned to court Friday to claim the technology giant used its market dominance to shut out WordPerfect and other software in the mid-1990s.

The federal suit, which partly dovetails with a U.S. government antitrust case, accused Microsoft of holding down the word processing program and the Quattro Pro spreadsheet application by making its operating system inhospitable to them. Microsoft also leveraged its ubiquity to keep Novell from offering its programs to consumers, the suit said.

``We intend to pursue aggressively a goal of recovering fair value for the harm caused to Novell's business by Microsoft's anticompetitive actions,'' said Joseph A. LaSala, Jr., Novell's senior vice president and general counsel, in a statement.

In a statement, Microsoft argued that trade-secret provisions allowed it to withhold technical specifications to protect itself, and said Novell is trying to blame others for its own bad business decisions.

Novell paid about $1 billion for WordPerfect in 1994 but had little success against Microsoft's products and sold it two years later for $195 million to Corel Corp.

Microsoft announced Monday it would pay Novell to pull out of a European Union lawsuit accusing the company of abusing its industry dominance.

Microsoft previously spent $2.4 billion settling antitrust and other claims by AOL Time Warner and Sun Microsystems, both significant supporters of the European case. Microsoft has cash reserves of about $64.4 billion.

Novell moved its headquarters to Massachusetts earlier this year but still has substantial operations in Provo.