Supreme Court Rejects Novell’s Antitrust Case Against Microsoft

The United States Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Novell without comment. The lawsuit accused Microsoft of illegally protecting its Windows computer operating system from competition 20 years ago by undercutting a WordPerfect. Novell was looking to revive a lawsuit that accused Microsoft of anticompetitive conduct during development of its Windows 95 operating system in 1994.

Novell said that, late in the rollout process, Microsoft withheld software components known as namespace extensions so competing developers would have trouble making their programs run smoothly on Windows. Novell said the move slowed the development of WordPerfect, a word-processing program that posed a threat to Microsoft’s Word. Novell, now part of privately held Wizard Parent LLC, argued in its appeal that Microsoft “made its own operating system less attractive to consumers in order to crush competition and protect its operating system monopoly.”

A Denver-based federal appeals court threw out the lawsuit stating “antitrust laws rarely impose on firms — even dominant firms — a duty to deal with their rivals.” The Supreme Court’s ruling upheld a federal trial judge’s opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts recused himself as he was involved as a lawyer in the Justice Department’s antitrust case against Microsoft

Microsoft’s chief legal counsel Brad Smith commented:

Always nice to start the week by winning on a petition at the Supreme Court! Novell case finally over.

Source: Bloomberg