Microsoft pays up in NetWare case

Microsoft has settled two major monopoly abuse cases with Novell and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA),...

Microsoft has settled two major monopoly abuse cases with Novell and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), ending years of legal wrangling.

The company will pay Novell $536m (£289m) under an agreement that resolves all monopoly abuse claims relating to NetWare. Novell has agreed to withdraw from participation in the European Commission’s case against Microsoft.

The agreement came out of private mediation between the two companies.

The settlement with the CCIA ends an eight-year investigation and monopoly abuse case brought by the US Department of Justice. CCIA was the final group challenging a November 2002 settlement ruling.

"These agreements represent another substantial milestone in Microsoft resolving the issues that have divided our industry over the past decade," said Brad Smith, senior vice-president and general counsel for Microsoft. "The long-standing anti-trust litigation in the US is now over."

Smith said the payment to Novell brought Microsoft's total bill for monopoly abuse settlements to just under $3bn. Microsoft restated its first-quarter results to take account of the settlement.

The agreement with the CCIA "removes the most substantial obstacle" to a settlement in the monopoly case currently before the European Commission, said Smith. "We believe this sends a strong message that we and other companies in our industry have the capacity to sit down face to face and resolve the kinds of thorny anti-trust issues that in the past were left instead to the government to resolve."

Microsoft and Novell were unable to reach agreement on Novell’s monopoly abuse claims related to its ownership of WordPerfect software between June 1994 and March 1996. Novell said it would be taking legal action to recover unspecified damages.

Grant Gross writes for IDG News Service



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