Novell and Microsoft Ends With Mistrial Due To Jury Indecision

Posted Dec 17, 2011

Novell filed an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) over their WordPerfect computer program. Jurors were unable to reach a decision over the lawsuit. The jurors at a federal court in Salt Lake City told the judge yesterday that they have been in a deadlock after they had been deliberating in a deadlock for 3 days. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz had dismissed the 12-member panel and some of them left in tears. The trial started on October 18th.

Novell was looking for $1.3 billion in damages over allegations that when Microsoft developed the Windows 95 operating system in 1994, they blocked an element of the software to prevent Novell’s WordPerfect and Quattro Pro programs from taking off. Novell will likely seek a retrial stated their company lawyer Jim Lundberg. The jury vote was 11-1 against Microsoft.

?We are hoping that in retrial, although it is technically complicated, that we can convince a jury that Novell?s claims are valid,? added Lundberg.

Microsoft lawyer Steve Aeschbacher said that the company will be renewing their bid to have the case dismissed for legal deficiency and had cited flawed antitrust theories.

Microsoft contacted five jurors after they were dismissed and they said that they would not have awarded damages to Novell said Microsoft spokesman Tim Brown. Last month Microsoft chairman Bill Gates testified at the trial.

In November 2010, Attachmate Corporation acquired Novell for $2.2 billion. Novell claimed WordPerfect’s share of the word-processing market fell to under 10% in 1996 from about 50% in 1990. The company value dropped from $1.2 billion in May 1994 to $170 million in 1996.