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.