Jury fails to reach a verdict in Microsoft’s Novell Windows 95 trial

By Tom Warren, on 17th Dec 11 1:10 am with 38 Comments

Bill Gates arrives at court

Microsoft’s Novell WordPerfect trial ended as a mistrial on Friday after jurors failed to reach a verdict.

Microsoft attempted to get the billion-dollar antitrust case, filed by Novell, dismissed by a federal court in Salt Lake City last month. The software giant was unsuccessful and Chairman Bill Gates took the witness stand in November to defend Microsoft. The trial centers on allegations that Microsoft cut its support for Novell’s Windows 95 compatible WordPerfect program.

Gates described how Microsoft worked “super hard” on Windows 95 at the time.”It was the most challenging, trying project we had ever done,” he said at the trial. Gates said Novell were unable to deliver a Windows 95 version of its WordPerfect program in time. Gates also argued that Microsoft Word was a better product and that by 1994 it was ranked number one in the market above WordPerfect.

Bloomberg reported on Friday that the 12 jurors failed to reach a verdict after trying for three days. Some jurors were reportedly in tears as U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz dismissed them. Microsoft issued the following statement:

“We are disappointed that the jury was unable to reach a verdict. However, we very much appreciate their service throughout the trial, and we remain confident that Novell’s claims here do not have merit, and look forward to the next steps in the process”

Novell was seeking $1.2 billion in composition for what it deems are losses. Microsoft rejected the claims and asked a judge to dismiss the entire case. Microsoft says that the company decided against installing WordPerfect as it was unstable and couldn’t be fixed in time for the Windows 95 release. “Novell never complained to Microsoft,” Microsoft lawyer David Tulchin said in an interview in November. “There’s nothing in the evidence, no documents.”

Microsoft’s recently moved to acquire Novell’s old patents in part of a group known as CPTN. Microsoft’s co-owned CPTN Holdings LLC was setup back in 2006 when the two companies signed a patent deal, designed to focus on virtualization, asset management and document formats. Novell agreed to add Microsoft Office’s Open XML format to the Open Office suite, available on the SUSE distribution. Novell also agreed to pay Microsoft a percentage of revenue from its open-source products.

  • Anonymous

    Word 6.0 by 1993-1994 was WAY BETTER than anyone of the versions of WordPerfect back at the time.

    • Anonymous

      At that time I was still in the military and we first used WordPerfect but switched to Word because it was easier and thus faster.  If I remember correctly; WordPerfect was still using that clunky command-driven UI that everyone loved and then hated when Word came out!

  • http://www.mainstreetchatham.com/ JimmyFal

    I remember it took me about 6 month to learn Word 1.0 ’89?. What I saw was NEVER what I got! I’m guessing the jury here was simply confused…

  • Guest

    Can’t believe the jury didn’t just throw this out.

    • Tom

      In fact, it came to a “Twelve Angry Men” situation, with one lone holdout for Microsoft.  Problem was that he was no Henry Fonda, and couldn’t get the other eleven to go along.

      Can’t believe the United States allows jurisdiction-shopping like this.  I mean, come on, holding the trial in Salt Lake City?  That’s almost as bad as holding it in Seattle.  For federal cases, they should find a neutral state to hold the trial in.

    • Guest

      That’s not good. MS is now probably wondering is they should settle, even though the case itself is bs.

    • Anonymous

      Could you provide a source for the “one lone holdout for Microsoft” part? kthx

    • Guest
    • Anonymous

      Thank you

    • Anonymous

      And i cant believe you are giving the decision to a non-qualified jury. 

      It seems that the lone holdout for MS was the only person who understood the technical part.

  • Anonymous

    This case should have been thrown out from the beginning.

    • http://my.opera.com/wikipedian Thu Win

      Oh.  No more trolling in support of Apple?

    • Guest

      Just give the idiot five minutes and he’ll be back saying Novell got screwed.

    • http://my.opera.com/wikipedian Thu Win

      Are you calling me an idiot or @ArrowSmith:disqus ?

    • Guest


      Is that a serious question? ASs, of course.

  • http://my.opera.com/wikipedian Thu Win

    Problem with Office is that it is very tightly intergrated with the OS and any problems with word often needs a OS re-installation.  I once have the “research” add-on not working since I installed Office 2007 after I upgraded to IE9.  Had to do a factory re-installation and install Office before upgrading.

    Another case is that the icon were wacked up due to the uninstallation of Office 2010 after the installation of Office 2007.  Had to do another factory restore.

    • Guest

      Huh? I’ve never reinstalled the OS because of an Office problem. And somehow I think I’ve installed it quite a bit more than most.

    • http://my.opera.com/wikipedian Thu Win

      Problem with Office is that it “saves” / caches the current installation so there is no way to uninstall it completely (erase everything).

      Plus, most Office problems (especially if your PC is “new”) is easier to solve by doing a factory restore.

    • Falken

      Ale prdlajs, trivial issue somewhere between chair and keyboard.

    • http://my.opera.com/wikipedian Thu Win

      I must have done something wrong for the Office installation to be corrupted (in fact I did do something wrong: I installed Office 2007 after upgrading to IE9 and it seems Office 2007 research bar refuse to install in IE9 (perhaps does not recognize the browser). So I have to install Office before upgrading.)

    • http://twitter.com/J88NYr Jonny Rose

      Did you not try deleting the Office stuff in AppData… TBH your the first person I have ever head of having to restore a PC because of Office.

    • http://my.opera.com/wikipedian Thu Win

      The reason I restore the PC is because the icon is corrupted (showing the wrong icon) and the PC is brand new (just came out of the box), so I have nothing to lose.

    • Anonymous

      Dude. What are you smokin’?

    • http://my.opera.com/wikipedian Thu Win

      Nothing but as I have mentioned previously, Office caches installation so there is no way to uninstall it completely.

      After every re-installation, the ribbon shortcut remains the same so there is some caching somewhere. Also, Office 2007′s Research pane does not seem to be compatible with Internet Explorer 9 and refuses to work when I install it after upgrading. So I did factory install and install Office before I updated the PC and it worked perfectly.

    • Guest
    • Anonymous

      you sure a getting a high dose of something… you should quit, drugs are bad for you. Either that or you are an idiot!

    • http://my.opera.com/wikipedian Thu Win

      I do NOT take drugs and I am NOT an idiot. See my blog at http://my.opera.com/wikipedian.

      Based on my experience, Office 2007 caches a lot of things and a “clean installation” cannot be guaranteed even after using Microsoft’s fixit tools. Factory reinstall is the easiest way for a quick do-over.

    • http://blog.firstdove.com Christian M. Z.

      There are always ways to uninstall things on Windows, most people just find it easier to re-install Windows or run recovery programs because that will clean the part they haven’t thought of actually checking.

      For one thing, other than running uninstall or even the cleanup tools, have you also tried searching through the system and user directories as well as Windows registry manually? Some software leave behind traces even after uninstall and cleanup programs are run. I’ve usually had no problems with Microsoft programs, but Logitech’s software often have this issue. Manual removal of files and registry entries are required.

      I’m not quite sure what you expect us to see in your blog. Firstly, there was no mention about the uninstallation issues you were having. Secondly, using your site’s search feature I was only able to locate one article on Office, and in that last part of the article you gave some advice which I can only consider “vendor specific” and is really a fault of Office itself.

      In this article, you stated that “To fix this problem, I uninstalled the “PDF Complete special edition” provided by HP.” You do realize that not everyone uses an “HP” computer pre-installed with “PDF Complete SE” correct? Not to mention that this observation clearly shows that the issue wasn’t with Office per se but was caused by a conflict between the two software.I’ve also read some of your articles, for example the one which you claim “Google Chrome is evil”, and attempting to justify that Chrome isn’t innovative just because it doesn’t have an in-built RSS reader. My friend, while from that you may say that Chrome isn’t “feature-packed”, that does not justify it being “evil” nor “not innovative” at all. Chrome’s innovation lies in other areas, including being the first well known browser to do the following: displayed without the title bar (thus increasing screen real estate) ; running each tab as a separate process to mitigate crashes; live, silent updates (are you aware that you didn’t have to uninstall old version, install new versions, or even click anything to update it?), cloud-syncs with your google account, tabs that can be moved out to create a separate window, in-browser apps, et cetera.Also, in the same article you claimed that Google Chrome took over the default browser settings in your computer. You do realize that you can go into any browser of your choice and set that as your default browser? You didn’t have to (and I quote from your article) “do a system restore” to prevent Chrome from being your default. You can also do the same by using Windows’ built-in method and do it through <>.Now I won’t go so far as to say you are on drugs or an idiot, but from what I’ve read you’re certainly not “the techy” that you make yourself out to be. (I do appreciate that you’re trying to help people out with your articles and replies though)

    • http://my.opera.com/wikipedian Thu Win

      I just want to prove I was “clever” by linking through my blog.

    • http://my.opera.com/wikipedian Thu Win

      You think I haven’t tried that? Internet Explorer WAS set as the default browser but the “web” key on the keyboard refuse to work properly until I did a system restore.

      Actually, I’m a college student with above than average knowledge of PC’s but I am certainly no “tech expert.”

    • http://blog.firstdove.com Christian M. Z.

      It wasn’t clear from your description whether or not you had tried that.

      In that case you will want to check your keyboard’s hotkey software. Most of these are tied to your system’s default settings, but in your situation, it seems like your keyboard will have additional settings elsewhere that needs to be manually corrected. Some OEM devices do that.

    • http://my.opera.com/wikipedian Thu Win

      System restore not factory restore.

      It was the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 4000.

  • http://my.opera.com/wikipedian Thu Win

    There should be wind blowing back Bill’s buisness suit to make it look more “epic.”

    • Guest

      Definitely needs a cape.

    • http://techin5.com Jubbin Grewal @Techin5.com

      Hm.. I haven’t heard this one before…

    • Ian S

      The  way I see it is that 
      1. Microsoft thinks Word was and is better and I think it is/was too.
      2. Microsoft should have the right to go with their own  software like Apple
      3. Novell should just quit because it is making people cry.
      4. Novell thinks that Word Perfect is better and they would still have it?
      5. Corel should do the case since they own the rights to Word perfect
      6. I never even knew what Word perfect looked like before the lawsuit started (meaning it is old and useless)
      7. Novell has other things to do then to whine about what they do not have.
      8. Microsoft can choose which Software they want to include. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1067257782 Jared Hartvigsen


  • GP007

    This thing was bogus anyways, and so dam old.   I hope Novell drops this already and gives it a rest, after all this time they haven’t won and it doesn’t seem like things are going to change either.