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Novell finally loses Microsoft anti-trust case

by on29 April 2014

20 year battle ends

A 20 anti-trust battle between Microsoft and Novell has finally ended with the US supreme court deciding the thing has been done to death. The case was about Windows 95 development and by declining to hear Novell's appeal; the court left intact a 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from September 2013 in favour of Microsoft.

The court of appeals unanimously affirmed the dismissal of Novell claims that Microsoft violated the Sherman Antitrust Act when it decided not to share its intellectual property while developing its Windows 95 operating system. Novell wanted more than $3 billion so it was probably worth fighting for. Since the 1990s, Microsoft has been pursued by government prosecutors, consumers and competitors for alleged antitrust violations when it was widely considered a monopolist.

The Novell case was first filed in 2004, was over Microsoft's decision not to share with Novell details about its Windows operating system. Novell claimed that its suite of applications, including WordPerfect, suffered because Redmond refused to share information. Novell alleged that Microsoft used its market power in operating systems to promote its own applications.

A trial in 2011 could not come to a verdict, but afterward U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz in Baltimore, who oversaw consolidated proceedings against Microsoft, ruled in favour of Microsoft. Novell appealed Motz's ruling to the 10th Circuit but the court affirmed Motz's ruling, finding that Microsoft was under no obligation to share sensitive information with a competitor.

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