Bill Gates Utah – Bill Gates is in federal court in Salt Lake City, Utah, regarding the WordPerfect program billion dollar loss suit by Novell. Microsoft, the world’s largest software marker, is being accused of undermining the WordPerfect program.
The suit is a byproduct of the U.S. government’s landmark antitrust case against Microsoft that settled more than eight years ago, in which the Redmond, Washington-based company was declared an illegal monopolist.
Novell said in its 2004 complaint that Microsoft unfairly restricted competition by its word processing program. Gates targeted its products by name, Novell’s lawyers alleged, adding that the Microsoft chairman said his company’s software could not compete without the benefit of anticompetitive conduct.
In May, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, revived the case, which had been dismissed by a lower court judge. The appeals court ruled Novell, which briefly owned WordPerfect in the mid-1990s, didn’t cede its rights when it transferred claims related to its personal computer operating system products to Caldera Inc. in 1996.
The appeals court ruling sent the case back to U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz in Baltimore, who had originally tossed it out. Motz is conducting the trial in Salt Lake City federal court, where the original lawsuit was filed. Gates is scheduled to testify today.
Novell, which was bought by Seattle-based Attachmate Corp. in April, has argued that WordPerfect’s share of the word- processing market fell to less than 10 percent in 1996 from almost 50 percent in 1990.
Its value dropped from $1.2 billion in May 1994 to $170 million in 1996 when it was sold to Ottawa-based Corel Corp., said Novell, which is seeking three times its losses in the lawsuit. The company settled separate antitrust claims against Microsoft for $536 million in 2004.
In its complaint, Novell said that WordPerfect had historically been the “most popular word processing application in the global market.”
“Microsoft engaged in a series of anticompetitive activities, including integrating other Microsoft software products, such as its browser technologies, into Microsoft’s Windows operating system in an exclusionary manner, and entering into exclusionary agreements precluding companies” from providing services to or buying products from Microsoft’s competitors, Novell said in court papers.