Novell Loses Appeal in WordPerfect Dispute with Microsoft

Novell had another setback in its legal dispute with Microsoft over WordPerfect and Windows 95.

On Monday, a three-judge panel at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an earlier court ruling that Microsoft didn't break antitrust laws about 18 years ago when it held back certain changes in a beta release of its Windows 95 operating system, according to an account by the Deseret News. Novell has now lost its appeal in a case that alleged Microsoft abused its Windows monopoly to gain market share for Microsoft Office. Novell had sought about $1 billion in damages.

Microsoft intentionally held up certain changes in Windows 95 at the beta release stage with the aim of favoring its Office suite over IBM's Lotus Notes and Novell's WordPerfect wordprocessing programs, according to a 1994 memo authored by then-CEO Bill Gates. That conduct was not considered to be antitrust activity under the Sherman Act, according to the opinion originally issued by Judge J. Frederick Motz in a Utah Central Division court. He argued then that "a monopolist generally has no duty to cooperate with its competitors" and the federal appeals court upheld that view.

WordPerfect on DOS once predominated in the wordprocessing market. It's estimated to have held half of that market in 1990, and 36 percent of that market at the end of 1994, which is when Novell owned the product. Novell subsequently sold WordPerfect to Corel in 1996, and Novell itself was acquired by Attachmate in late 2010. The Windows 95 transition away from DOS marked the downfall of WordPerfect in the market and the rise of the mouse-driven Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word is currently the market leader.

Novell has just a few options at this point. It could request an appeal of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling, pursue the case at the Supreme Court or drop the lawsuit, according the Deseret News.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.


  • Google IDs on Azure Active Directory B2B Service Now at 'General Availability'

    Microsoft announced on Wednesday that users of the Google identity and access service can use their personal log-in IDs with the Azure Active Directory B2B service to access resources as "guests."

  • Top 4 Overlooked Features of a Data Backup Strategy

    When it comes to implementing an airtight backup-and-recovery plan, these are the four must-have features that many enterprises nevertheless tend to forget.

  • Microsoft Bolsters Kubernetes with Azure Confidential Computing

    Microsoft on Tuesday announced various developments concerning the use of Kubernetes, an open source container orchestration solution fostered by Google.

  • Windows Will Have Support for Encrypted DNS

    Microsoft announced this week that the Windows operating system already has support for an encrypted Domain Name System option that promises to add greater privacy protections for Internet connections.

comments powered by Disqus

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.