The U.S. Supreme Court has formally rejected an appeal by Novell in a long-running antitrust case against Microsoft in a dispute going back 20 years ago. In the lawsuit, Novell accused Microsoft of anticompetitive behaviour during the period Windows 95 was under development in 1994. There was no comment elaborated in the Court’s decision to reject the appeal.
According to Novell, Microsoft withheld certain APIs that made it difficult for competing developers to make their applications run well on Windows. Novell states Microsoft’s conduct slowed Novell’s development of WordPerfect – a competing product to Microsoft Word – which they conspire was intentional on Microsoft’s part.
Novell had sold WordPerfect to Corel in March 1996, however that did not stop Novell starting legal action against Microsoft later on. In 2011, the case against the two companies went to trial with Novell asking for between $500 million to $1.2 billion USD against Microsoft. However, the case ended in mistrial because one jury member was unable to reach a verdict. In 2012, a U.S. federal appeals court judge dismissed Novell’s appeal stating no “reasonable jury could find … Microsoft’s withdrawal of [the APIs] caused Novell’s failure to develop [WordPerfect]” in time.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was not present at the time the Court handed its decision because he was a lawyer for the U.S. Justice Department’s lawsuit against Microsoft in 1998.
With this week’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, it is highly likely Novell’s legal options have been fully exhausted.
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