THE DOZEN PEOPLE that have already sat through two months of evidence and argument about Microsoft business practices that sank Novell's Wordperfect retired last night after a second day of deliberations without reaching a verdict.
Novell alleges that Microsoft acted anti-competitively when it asked Novell to develop a version of Wordperfect for Windows 95 and then made it impossible for it to deliver the application on time. This, Novell claims, Microsoft did to boost the market share of Microsoft Word.
The jury has been treated to sights like Bill Gates arguing about whether Microsoft was being anti-competitive when it took over the lead position in word processing software back in the mid 1990s.
Back then if you wanted to write something it was quite likely that you would have done so in Wordperfect, however these days that story is rather different, of course.
Novell said that Gates decided to withdraw support for Wordperfect in Windows 95 because it threatened Microsoft's Windows monopoly, as it was also available on other operating systems.
Gates responded by saying that the feature would have made his operating system unstable, which Novell has disputed.
So far the jury has failed to reach a decision though and retired yesterday after 11 hours of discussions to think further about whether they believe what Novell alleges and if they do how bad they think it was. Novell is asking for over $1bn in damages.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that jurors asked for a definition of middleware, which they were given.
According to the Deseret News, the jury also asked the judge what the term "hung jury" means. That's probably not a good sign. Whatever the jury's verdict, however, an appeal is almost inevitable. µ
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