Mistrial declared in Microsoft-Novell suit, over hung jury

The suit brought by Novell alleged that, through anticompetitive tactics, Microsoft encouraged Novell to develop products but then withdrew support as it launched Windows 95.

A federal judge declared a mistrial in Novell's antitrust suit against Microsoft after jurors told the court they could not reach a verdict.

Novell filed the case in 2004, alleging that Microsoft, while developing Windows 95, promised to support Novell's WordPerfect and Quattro Pro products, but held back key technical information required to make them compatible with Windows 95. Novell sought more than $1 billion in damages as a result of Microsoft's alleged anticompetitive behavior.

Microsoft's Bill Gates Microsoft

The jury trial, which lasted two months, saw Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates travel to the Salt Lake City courtroom to testify. According to an Associated Press article, jurors told the judge presiding over the trial that they were "hopelessly deadlocked" after deliberating for three days.

Jim Lundberg, an attorney for Novell, told Bloomberg that the company is "terribly disappointed." The article didn't say if the company intended to continue with the litigation.

Microsoft, too, expressed disappointment in the mistrial.

"We are disappointed that the jury was unable to reach a verdict," Microsoft Associate General Counsel Steve Aeschbacher said in a statement. "We remain confident that Novell's claims here do not have merit, and look forward to the next steps in the process."

 

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