A federal judge today sided with Microsoft and rejected Novell’s arguments that decisions made by Bill Gates leading up to the launch of Windows 95 violated antitrust laws by unfairly hobbling WordPerfect in a way that helped Microsoft’s competing applications.
U.S. District Judge Frederick Motz writes in the ruling, “Although Novell presented evidence from which a jury could have found that Microsoft engaged in aggressive conduct, perhaps to monopolize or attempt to monopolize the applications market, it did not present evidence sufficient for a jury to find that Microsoft committed any acts that violated § 2 [antitrust laws] in maintaining its monopoly in the operating systems market.”
Amazingly enough, this doesn’t appear to be the end of the case. Novell says in a statement quoted by AllThingD.com that it “still believes in the strength of its claim and we do intend to pursue an appeal.”
Novell had been seeking more than $6 billion in damagaes. The case, filed in 2004, has been through an extended series of twists and turns, and was revived by an appeals court in May. A trial last year featured testimony from Bill Gates and others, but the jury ultimately wasn’t able to reach a verdict.
Novell was acquired last year by Attachmate Group, the Houston-based software company with roots in Seattle.
David Howard, Microsoft deputy general counsel, says in a statement, “We’ve maintained throughout this case that Novell’s arguments lack merit, and we’re gratified with today’s ruling dismissing the last of Novell’s claims and putting this matter to rest.”