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Novell's WordPerfect Antitrust Suit Ends In Mistrial

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the lots-of-lawyers-love-wordperfect dept.

The Courts 98

According to a Bloomberg News article carried by Business Week, "Jurors said today they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict in Novell Inc.’s antitrust trial against Microsoft Corp. over the WordPerfect computer program. A mistrial was declared by the judge presiding over the case in federal court in Salt Lake City ... Novell sought as much as $1.3 billion in damages over allegations that Microsoft, while developing the Windows 95 operating system in 1994, blocked an element of the software to thwart Novell’s WordPerfect and Quattro Pro programs."

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98 comments

In the jury room... (5, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405946)

Clippy: I see you are trying to reach a verdict.

Re:In the jury room... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405966)

Clippy: I see you are trying to reach a verdict.

Oh hell no. No way is Microsoft evil enough to sic the infamous Clippy on them.

Mistral (0)

Fwipp (1473271) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405978)

Anybody else read this as "... Suit Ends in Mistral?" I had some crazy idea about the issue somehow being resolved by this particular font.

Re:Mistral (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38406906)

No. Nobody else read this that way.

Re:Mistral (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38407252)

Anybody else read this as "... Suit Ends in Mistral?"

Anybody else tired of people with poor reading skills trying to find company?

Why was this a jury trial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38406008)

I would be pretty ticked off if the government required me to spend weeks in a courtroom to help decide a billion dollar spat between two big corporations.

Re:Why was this a jury trial? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38406046)

The 7th amendment says "In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law."

One of the parties asked for a jury trail.

Re:Why was this a jury trial? (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406828)

I spent a month on a jury dealing with a multimillion dollar squabble between a developer and a contractor. Personally, if it had been up to me, I would have taken the money from both of them and awarded it to somebody else completely, but that's not how trials worked.

By the end I thoroughly hated all parties involved.

Re:Why was this a jury trial? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38407284)

Yes it is - it's just the lawyers are the 'somebody else' you get to choose from.

Little late... (5, Insightful)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406020)

Excellent, we got a non-verdict almost 18 years after the events subject to the trial, during which time Microsoft, Apple, and most of the other serial abusers of anti-trust and/or patent law have only maintained or even increased their presence in the market.

I'm satisfied with our justice system. Everything looks totally cool. Everyone else happy?

Re:Little late... (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406078)

Actually I'm a little surprised... With the M$ million man legal team, I figured litigation like this wouldn't actually reach resolution until the heat death of the universe... Oh yeah, silly me, it hasn't resolved yet has it?... go on everybody,scoot, nothing here to see!

Re:Little late... (2, Interesting)

yog (19073) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406146)

And yet, competitors like OpenOffice have been stealing market share from MS Office. By some accounts, OOo now holds over 20% of desktops. Then there's the internet apps like Google Documents, which are steadily increasing in user numbers. Microsoft's response to Google Apps, "Office 365", is a subscription-based product that is not even available without paying a fee. Undoubtedly it's getting some attention in corporate circles, where they like to pay for such things, but no one else cares.

Apple's steadily becoming more common on the desktop, and they make very highly rated laptops, tablets, and phones. Yet, they're not a monopoly in any of these markets, and Android is overtaking the iPhone.

I really don't see how Microsoft is more of a monopoly today than in the '90s. It's gradually becoming irrelevant, in fact. People are switching to handheld devices running mainly iOS or Android. In a few years, the average college student may not be using either Windows or MacOS, but instead they will be mainly familiar with these phone/tablet systems. Microsoft is a tiny player in this market so far.

Basically this Wordperfect lawsuit is a bit dated and irrelevant today. I'm surprised it wasn't thrown out long ago.

Re:Little late... (1, Funny)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406194)

a subscription-based product that is not even available without paying a fee

A *fee*?!? GASP!

1.Collect Underpants
2. ???
3.Profit

Re:Little late... (4, Interesting)

Lisias (447563) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406250)

Basically this Wordperfect lawsuit is a bit dated and irrelevant today. I'm surprised it wasn't thrown out long ago.

Dated, yes. Irrelevant, not.

The message, if the USA Legal System manages to delivery it, will be : "We will catch you, no matter how much time it takes."

Re:Little late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38406506)

".... Or, how irrelevant our judgement is once we get around to making it."

Re:Little late... (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406922)

1.3B is not irrelevant to most.

Re:Little late... (2)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408082)

It is if you were a 50 year old employee of WP holding a ton of stock and you subsequently died without leaving any heirs behind.

Instead of having a few 10s of millions of dollars to play with in early retirement you instead get nothing until after you're dead. No doubt somebody will donate some money to the Windows-for-schools charity in your name instead.

Justice delayed is justice denied.

Look at it another way - if the court merely hands down a $1B verdict here, every CEO across the country will get the message loud and clear - do what MS did! Think about it, you get a boost in market share today and get to charge monopoly prices for a decade, at some risk that 17 years from now you might have to give back $1B. Well, you won't be CEO in 17 years for starters, and even if you are $1B in 17 years is worth $200M today at an interest rate of 10% (typical NPV rate to use). I'm sure MS's actions made them a LOT more than $200M.

Re:Little late... (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#38424218)

note I said "most". If you'll review my other posts here, I think in MS's case, it's off by an order of magnitude or more.

Re:Little late... (5, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38407104)

If Microsoft can get lawsuits to age out of the court cache, just by paying for enough delays, it becomes immune to prosecution by anyone. Anyone at all. For anything. The same would go for any other corporation.

That kind of precedent is very relevant.

Re:Little late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408636)

I hardly think it is the end of civilization as we know it just because large corporations spend enormous amount of time and money suing each other. I would like however for court costs to be paid by the participants rather than the tax payers. I think a sliding scale of filing fees depending on the amount of money in dispute would work. So small claims courts are free and large claims require large payments not only to the attorneys involved (where the money goes to the already obscenely wealthy) but to the government (where there is at least a possibility the money might do some good)..

Re:Little late... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410624)

1. The more the courts deal with the trivial, the less the courts can deal with the important.
2. The costs not paid at government-level will be passed on to the consumer as a tax by the corporations. You buy Windows for a PC even if Windows is never installed because that's the cheapest way for manufacturers to work with Microsoft, so you pay even for what you don't buy.
3. Corporations have a finite budget. The more that is spent on lawsuits, the less that is spent on QA, improvements, R&D, customer service and other things that you might actually want a corporation to do.

So, yes, it is the end of civilization when corporations drain all of their - and your - resources on such things.

Re:Little late... (1)

slamb (119285) | more than 2 years ago | (#38425270)

The message, if the USA Legal System manages to delivery it, will be : "We will catch you, no matter how much time it takes."

We will catch you and then do what?

Even if IBM gets amount they are seeking, $1.3B is only 0.60% of MSFT's market cap today. Microsoft's business has been climbing the exponential-like part of the logistic curve for 17 years since this happened; their market cap grew from $23.06B on 1 Jan 1994 [wolframalpha.com] to $216.78B now. Dollar figures that were meaningful then are just not meaningful now. By pushing the damages out 18 years, Microsoft got a giant interest-free loan from the government which they were able to invest into their illegal, profitable, and fast-growing business.

We need to be able to deter corporate actions contrary to the common interest (ones which are anticompetitive, risky to the economy at large, environmentally damaging, harmful to consumers, or exploitative of employees). If not through our legal system, then how will we accomplish this? If through our legal system, it needs to be quick or at the very least have damages structured in a way to have much more teeth years later. In particular, if the damages were structured as "$XB or $XB*(market cap when paid)/(market cap when alleged violation took place), whichever is greater", the second half of the 'or' would kick in and make the damages nearly 10X greater. That would be 5.6% of MSFT's market capitalization (or $12.2B). I'm not sure that'd be enough to act as a real deterrent, but it'd be much closer anyway.

Re:Little late... (5, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406266)

People are switching to handheld devices running mainly iOS or Android. In a few years, the average college student may not be using either Windows or MacOS, but instead they will be mainly familiar with these phone/tablet systems.

Do you actually work in the real world? I work in software product management - I create complex documents, flowcharts and work on spreadsheets. I collaborate on UI wireframes. My colleagues in accounting run sophisticated apps. I have friends who are lawyers, others who are structural engineers... Many of us work across two 22" monitors...

How exactly do any of us do this work on tablets or phones? Microsoft OWNS those environments, hands down - From the desktops, to the servers...

The real world isn't twitter updates from your iDevice.

Re:Little late... (2)

Goaway (82658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406494)

You have some funny ideas about what the average college student does.

Re:Little late... (2)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38407054)

Depends on the university. Where I went, people ran their own 386BSD (and Linux, once it existed) installs, running 16-player games of Netrek or XTank over the campus network using X11R4 on large (for the time) monitors, or were playing DOSish games like Wing Commander using the LAPC1 for sound. Not cheap setups and not something phones or tablets could replicate today by any stretch.

Re:Little late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38407908)

God, we get it. The 60s were great. Will you shut up now, grandpa?

CAPTCHA: jealousy

Re:Little late... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410770)

So you're jealous. Get the Netrek client and you needn't be.

Re:Little late... (1)

pmontra (738736) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408386)

I wanted to mod you up but I prefer to reply and share the nostalgia for those never ending Netrek and XTank games. I even managed to graduate.
Actually I think my dual core phone has much more CPU than those computers we were using back in the early 90's. With the right software stack it would be a good server. Nevertheless it seems that somebody managed to run Ubuntu on it but I don't feel like trying.
A phone screen is too tiny for Netrek but a tablet should be fine. Tapping to direct the ships instead of clicking seems ok but we need lots of buttons for the other hand to do all the other actions.

Re:Little late... (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38413688)

You have some funny ideas about what the average college student does.

Right. They twitter and check facebook. They wouldn't ever need to write papers or crunch numbers. That's for working stiffs.

the people who clean your toilets (2)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406496)

cook your food, sell you your clothes, and work in the factories that make those monitors, are all using phones, not fancy computers.

and they out number you 99:1.

Re:the people who clean your toilets (3, Interesting)

ulricr (2486278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406634)

Factory workers with 80$ data plans and smartphones? The majority of people have older pcs, a subset of those have iPods that they fill from music on the pc. But they are not browsing the web on a smartphone with an 80$ data plans. Or buying 700$ ipads. The entry point for pcs is much lower and that where most people in the world are.

Re:the people who clean your toilets (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#38407832)

Paying for a "data plan"? Hahaha. Next you'll be telling me you pay for text messages and you pay to receive calls...

Re:the people who clean your toilets (4, Funny)

corbettw (214229) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406702)

I dare anyone to read that post and not read it in Tyler Durden's voice.

Re:the people who clean your toilets (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38407058)

Your average factory worker is lucky if the boss obeys the law and pays minimum wage. The only phones they are likely to see are the recycled ones from 10 years back. They may outnumber the geeks 99:1 but they're not reading eBooks, wordprocessing or surfing YouTube on those phones. If the screen even has graphics.

Re:the people who clean your toilets (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38413692)

Bull. You imagine what they're like, and you're wrong. Be less insulated.

Re:Little late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38406798)

I think the author of that post was exaggerating and generally knows it but did so to make a point. The author wasn't being disingenuous either, it's fairly obvious his or her post was an exaggeration.

Re:Little late... (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406952)

... I have friends who are lawyers, others who are structural engineers... Many of us work across two 22" monitors... Microsoft OWNS those environments, hands down - From the desktops, to the servers...

Oh my - 2 22" monitors. Maybe you should have bought just one 27+" monitor (or better yet, 2!!!) How else will you work?

Hint: Windows doesn't own that environment, hands down, up, or sideways. Not only that, if your talking servers, you're talking an ever shrinking slice of the pie for the MS world.

I too have friends in all the stated worlds, and more. Truly sophisticated accounting apps don't run on windows anyting. Engineers (well, structural could be civil, in which case.... duhhh) would be much better served in the *nix world (includes Macs btw). Lawyers... beats me, does anyone care? Doctors? The last 5 I encountered are all Apple. (3 surgeons - friends - and 2 general practitioners)

My linux network box snorts at you. My hackintosh ignores you, my windows machine... wait, I'll have to load it in a vm somewhere.....

Re:Little late... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38407074)

Whether Windows, Linux or BSD, I can tell you now that no application of any serious weight will run on a phone, tablet, netbook, PDA or abacus. If it hasn't serious crunching power, serious memory and something with more juice than the overweight liquorice stick manufacturers claim is a battery and not an incendiary device, it's simply not going to run anything remotely like the applications real people use for real work.

And, yes, most real people use a *nix. Imaginary people use Windows, complex people use Plan 9 and quaternion folk use VMS.

Re:Little late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38407110)

You need to get out more and mix with real people

Re:Little late... (1)

Another, completely (812244) | more than 2 years ago | (#38407238)

How exactly do any of us do this work on tablets or phones? Microsoft OWNS those environments, hands down - From the desktops, to the servers...

Yes, real office work still needs a keyboard and monitor, and that's usually some sort of Windows OS on a desktop or laptop, but did you really mean to include servers in the Microsoft ownership? I work in the real world too, and Microsoft Server is disappearing from my part of it. Most of our server applications could run on it, but are also supported for other operating systems with simpler (and cheaper) licensing terms.

Desktop maybe, server no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38407760)

Most of the big shop I know of use microsoft only in a limited fashion and whenever possible use arious flavor of Linux, or other operating systems (Irix, Unisys, etc...).

Re:Little late... (0)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408108)

Yup - if today's pundits were alive in 1990 they'd be talking about how college students talk on the phone and hang out at the lunch table - they have no familiarity with things like interoffice mail, documents, and email. Well, duh - they're college students, and the goals of a college student are a bit different from the goals of a business.

The only thing that gives the pundits traction today is that managers today do most of the same things as college students (indeed they may never have done much else if they didn't work their way up), and think that because they can hit reply to an email from a subordinate and type "No" or "Go ahead" on a tablet that their subordinate could do their job using one.

Unless all you do all day is read email and stuff other people send to you, you'll probably need something with a keyboard and a mouse.

All that said, if you could dock a tablet to a workstation then I could see the convergence.

Re:Little late... (1)

hairyfish (1653411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406356)

And yet, competitors like OpenOffice have been stealing market share from MS Office. By some accounts, OOo now holds over 20% of desktops. Then there's the internet apps like Google Documents, which are steadily increasing in user numbers.

Which just goes to show, the path to success is through innovation, not litigation (Yes Apple I'm looking at you)

Microsoft's response to Google Apps, "Office 365", is a subscription-based product that is not even available without paying a fee. Undoubtedly it's getting some attention in corporate circles, where they like to pay for such things, but no one else cares.

You say that as if the corporate market is some little two bit operation in the far corner of the room. The consumer market maybe a gold mine for Apple right now, but it is a fickle space to operate in. In 10 years most corporates will still run Windows/Office/Exchange/SQL, can you say the same about the your latest smartphone?

Apple's steadily becoming more common on the desktop, and they make very highly rated laptops, tablets, and phones. Yet, they're not a monopoly in any of these markets, and Android is overtaking the iPhone.

As above. If I had enough money to buy shares I'd be choosing MS over Apple right now.

I really don't see how Microsoft is more of a monopoly today than in the '90s. It's gradually becoming irrelevant, in fact. People are switching to handheld devices running mainly iOS or Android.

Consumers are switching to handheld devices. But if you want productivity the desktop still wins, and MS has 80%+ market share in that space.

In a few years, the average college student may not be using either Windows or MacOS, but instead they will be mainly familiar with these phone/tablet systems. Microsoft is a tiny player in this market so far.

May. May not. If I had to bet I'd say the keyboard and mouse aren't going anywhere soon. I work with all the latest toys as part of my job. From the top to the bottom everyone in the company loves playing on the latest gizmo, but invariably goes back to a desktop/laptop when they need to get shit done. We have dozens of iPads that sit dormant in desk drawers because after the first few weeks most people get sick of playing Angry Birds.

Basically this Wordperfect lawsuit is a bit dated and irrelevant today. I'm surprised it wasn't thrown out long ago.

If you want to talk dying IT companies, Novell is a prime target.

Re:Little late... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38406608)

the desktop still wins, and MS has 80%+ market share in that space.

Supporting your post, throwing everything against Windows including iOS, Windows still has 86% [netmarketshare.com] market share. It's slowly gone down over the last year but that's probably more do to people adding other operating systems more than people replacing Windows with another OS.

I like Linux and have 4 running copies at home, but I still have 5 copies of Windows between dual boots and VMs on multiple machines. At this moment I have 4 machines running at home split 2 Linux (currently posting with one plus a server) and 2 Windows (connected to TVs since Netflix and other DRM doesn't work with Linux) plus 1 Linux VM.

Re:Little late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411912)

Percentage scores for *nix penetration are less useful and reliable a measure than BogoMIPS

Re:Little late... (1)

hawk (1151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38413980)

> In 10 years most corporates will still run
>Windows/Office/Exchange/SQL, can you say the same
>about the your latest smartphone?

They *may* be using that particular software (which is currently losing ground,' or they may be using another. They *will* be using the software on hardware. Microsoft is in one of those markets, and apple in the other.

>Apple's steadily becoming more common on the desktop,
>and they make very highly rated laptops, tablets, and
>phones. Yet, they're not a monopoly in any of these
>markets, and Android is overtaking the iPhone.

Apple has a minority of the market share, yet they make more profit than the rest of the handset makers in their market put together . . .

Apple makes sew real times the profit per unit than their competitors.

hawk

Re:Little late... (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406520)

This is rather like saying "He violated a contract a decade ago, but because the wronged party found other business, pursuit of the initial violation is pointless."

Just because events have moved long past this period, so far as I'm concerned, if Microsoft deliberately used its monopoly to damage a competitor, it should be made to pay for it.

Re:Little late... (0)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406690)

Microsoft's response to Google Apps, "Office 365", is a subscription-based product that is not even available without paying a fee.

That's because Office 365 is specifically a response to Google's paid apps. If you want basic online office document editing for free, it comes with SkyDrive.

Re:Little late... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38406766)

Ahhh Slashdot.... it never fails to deliver misinformation when it comes to MS.

Office 365 is the non-free cloud version of Office. It's a direct competitor to Google Apps for Business, which is also non-free.

Office Web Apps are COMPLETELY free, are available to anyone, and are a competitor to Google Docs.

I LOVE Office Web Apps because it has OneNote, which absolutely organizes my life. Of course, I don't expect the average Slashdotter to know any of this because the average Slashdotter has their head so far up their ass on the subject of Microsoft that they constantly criticize MS products without ever using ANY of them.

Re:Little late... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38407092)

Star Office (the original Open Office) came out for the Zilog Z80, Amstrad CPC and the Commodore 64. Microsoft Office didn't even exist then. Microsoft itself barely existed back then. That means that the market share isn't UP to 20%, it's DOWN to 20%.

Re:Little late... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38407312)

both microsoft word (1983) and multiplan (excel's predecessor, 1982) predate the actual founding of the company that started staroffice (stardivision, 1984; nine years after microsoft); and it was not staroffice back then, just starwriter.

Re:Little late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408374)

"By some accounts, OOo now holds over 20% of desktops."

Whose accounts? That sounds ludicrously high, particularly for a product that compares so unfavorably to Office 2007, to say nothing of Office 2010. And before you ask, I've used both LibreOffice and OpenOffice this year. I purposefully installed them in an attempt to get away from Office, only to find them slow, less functional, and in a few cases they had trouble with formats.

They're better than free and cleaner than piracy for those who care about such things, but they aren't replacements.

Re:Little late... (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38413668)

By some accounts, OOo now holds over 20% of desktops.

That's so contrary to my experience I have to ask where you got that. In the US, I'd be shocked if OO was on even 1% of desktops. I like OO, have it on all my machines, but it's not making significant inroads against Office. Google apps isn't, really, either, but at least it's a potential threat that MS was forced to respond to.

And I disagree with you about the future of operating systems. You're not going to write papers and run spreadsheets on a phone or tablet. Portable devices simply a different niche than desktop PCs. They're not a replacement.

Re:Little late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38406964)

In the lapsed time, M$ has made billions. Crime does not pay? Are you kidding!?!? They knew they broke the law, and made billion$. They have abused their monopoly again and again. They abuse it at any and every opportunity. The anti-trust judge is a paid sock-puppet. The entire anti-trust trial was a joke. When is the last time you had a judge go out of his way to fuck up a case? Its a sham.

Re:Little late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38407808)

Justice delayed == Justice denied

MISRIAL 'BREAKIN' THE' WIND !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38406092)

No wind when I took the watch
My ship was still and waitin'
I lay on that mirrored sky
A restless sail or waitin'
I closed my eyes said the
Words of will for the gentle
Breathin' that moves the seas
Make my sails fill

Whisper waves cloud the glass
Awake at last like a lover
It rushed around the talkin' sweet
Roll over, roll over, roll over
And in my ear he blew his name
It sound so strange but I heard it plain
mistrial mistrial wind

I have always held the wheel but
I let the wind steal my power
Spin me 'round lose my course
Nights run by like hours
Well, it would show me the way
To the deepest mountains
Too high and beautiful to be
mistrial, mistrial wind

All the hours on the watch
I wait for that breeze to move me
And blow me back to that place
Magic space all through me
And I sigh your name
Along the empty water
You made a crazy believer out of me
mistrial, mistrial, mistrial, mistrial,
mistrial, mistrial

Re:MISRIAL 'BREAKIN' THE' WIND !! (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406912)

I like a good joke-in-song-lyrics as much as anyone but this was way off-base, not funny and you're trashing possibly the best song that the Wilson sisters ever wrote.

I just read TFA (5, Insightful)

MoronGames (632186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406210)

and it sounds like one guy held up the whole thing. It was an 11-1 vote AGAINST Microsoft. Sounds like we spotted a fanboy!

Re:I just read TFA (5, Interesting)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406330)

and it sounds like one guy held up the whole thing. It was an 11-1 vote AGAINST Microsoft. Sounds like we spotted a fanboy!

Or someone who's about to mysteriously come into a lot of money.

Not bloodly likely. (0)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408790)

Or someone who's about to mysteriously come into a lot of money.

"Bribery!" is the geek's shout-out to any legal decision he doesn't like.

If it is not the judge who was bribed, it was the jury. If it was not the judge or the jury, it was the lawyers. If it was not the lawyers. it was the lawmakers.

Not that the juror can't shout back that "I was your hero --- the nullifier --- with the strength and will to hold out against a verdict I thought was morally wrong! "

"Until it came time to make a decision, and my decision went against you."

"Well, to hell with that, it doesn't make me a criminal."

Re:Not bloodly likely. (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410796)

Or someone who's about to mysteriously come into a lot of money.

"Bribery!" is the geek's shout-out to any legal decision he doesn't like.

If it is not the judge who was bribed, it was the jury. If it was not the judge or the jury, it was the lawyers. If it was not the lawyers. it was the lawmakers.

First of all let me make it clear. I don't give a rats ass about this case! I was never a fan of WordPerfect and this case is so old it's ridiculous. Novell will never regain its place in the word processing market. Frankly I think it's disgusting that this case hasn't been concluded long ago.

"Bribery!" is not only "the geek's shout-out". It's used by all manner of people in the world. Do you know why? Because it's so fucking common! Hell the US government has practically legalized it and now calls it a campaign donation.

Re:I just read TFA (1, Funny)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406434)

Either that, or he was just the type of person who wanted to disagree with everybody in the room.

So for all we know, he could just be a linux desktop user.

Re:I just read TFA (2, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406534)

Either that, or he was just the type of person who wanted to disagree with everybody in the room.

In my (admittedly limited) experience, those kinds of people are the first to fold, the least-likely to stick to their opinion. At first they are upset, outraged at something, but jury deliberation can last a long time. They have no firm principles, so they just want to get out, and are happy to change their opinion if they can go home sooner.

Re:I just read TFA (3, Insightful)

ulricr (2486278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406678)

I am baffled by this. Removing shell namespace extension during beta is absolutely not an obstacle to a third party shipping a word processor or a data base. The standard Open File dialog was just fine and everyone else used it - and still use it. There is no equivalent on any other OS. It's totally irrelevant to why WordPerfect lost the market and they have proof that the database was late anyway and would not have shipped until the year after. I cannot understand what the other 11 juries saw there that was a predatory move, they probably just don't understand all of this tech stuff, it is quite complex to a non programmer, isn't it.

Re:I just read TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38406718)

There is a lot of truth to that. I sat in on a day of the trial with my friend and she said, "It was like they were speaking another language."

Re:I just read TFA (4, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406966)

you have absolutely no idea what MS did.

However, to MS's defense, WordPerfect never really go the GUI until MS was long out of the gate. However, MS used an entire series of underhanded tricks at the time to improve their products by using secret unpublished APIs that no one else knew about.

Should they lose this case? Yes. Should they be punished? Yes? Is 1.3B too much? NO!

Tying products together the way MS did, and utilizing proprietary data on what essentially was, at the time, a near monopolistic eco-system should be punished. Personally 1.3B might be too low. Perhaps increasing it by an order of magnitude or 2 just for the delays I'm sure MS put in would put a stop to it. Or, better yet, grant the 1.3B and then increase it by 10% for each year MS delayed judgement,

Gee - their purse might get hurt? It's quite possible that all of it was ill gotten gains and therefore subject to forfeiture.

Re:I just read TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38407840)

If you know so much then please elaborate on what Microsoft did because, quite frankly, I don't trust ANYTHING I see on Slashdot in regard to MS.

I kinda followed this case and the ONLY thing I heard Novell complaining about was that namespace extensions were IN the Win95 beta but were pulled from the final version of Win95. This apparently caused problems for Novell because they used it for some open file dialogue or something.

Re:I just read TFA (1)

ulricr (2486278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408460)

The trial is about the removal of the namespace extension. What else do you think it is about? The juries in the trial are generally confused about what the trial is about and try to make a point the way you are doing here instead of looking at the facts. Microsoft ALREADY had a separate trial for monopoly and undocumented Apis. This isn't that trial. Novel needs to show damage

Re:I just read TFA (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38409128)

However, to MS's defense, WordPerfect never really go the GUI until MS was long out of the gate. However, MS used an entire series of underhanded tricks at the time to improve their products by using secret unpublished APIs that no one else knew about.

WordPerfect was a DOS era character based word processor that was ported to every OS and platform known to man, each with its own fiefdom within the company.

It struggled with the transition to a GUI world on both Windows and the Mac.

It struggled internally with the success of both Windows and the Mac --- at one point it was supporting 30 flavors of UNIX alone.

It struggled with the transition from a stand-alone word processor to the integrated office suite.

The "secret unpublished API" probably did less damage to WP than the exposed API for printing. The customized print drivers that helped carry WordPerfect to dominance in the eighties were no longer needed.

Almost Perfect [wordplace.com]

Re:I just read TFA (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#38424152)

the unpublished APIs included printing, IIRC. Something about more detailed formatting being available, IIRC.

But, I agree WP had all sorts of other issues that just about took them out of the running, MS didn't even need to use unpublished APIs to have ensured it. But by doing so, they opened themselves up to these types of lawsuits.

Re:I just read TFA (2)

ediron2 (246908) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406778)

Normally, I'd agree with you. In a room of a dozen nerds, that'd be the fanboi. But in a room with 12 generic citizens, that standout could be the one nerd in the room.

In other words, maybe the first 11 jurors are like half the nitwits, er *committee* hearing SOPA in congress today -- zzzzzz-zzzzzzz 'bunch of tubes' zzzzzz-zzzzz 'intarwebz are for porn' zzzzz-zzzzz 'if the glove doesn't fit' zzzz-zzzzz. Meanwhile, one of our fellow slashdotters got jury duty and *understood* things, and came to a completely contradictory conclusion.

I'm not saying Microsoft deserved to win -- I personally doubt it based on it being MS in 1994 -- and I've paid almost no attention to the trial. I'm just a bit more clear on juries 'cuz of a locally-high-profile case I served as a juror for. Reviewing the news stories after that experience quickly taught me that there's a LOT going on in a long trial that gets filtered both ways: the world gets a news story that skips key details, and the jury occasionally gets sequestered from the courtroom when some pretty damn interesting info is disclosed (missing them entirely) or even gets instructions to not consider certain details in their deliberation.

I totally remember this! (1)

wiggles (30088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406262)

Wow... Back then I was doing tech support in my first IT gig. It was a summer job while I was in College. I was doing tech support for a reseller that serviced small to mid-sized businesses. One of our clients had purchased Windows 95 PCs, an HP Laserjet 4si, and WordPerfect for Windows 3.11. Due to a bug between Windows and WordPerfect, the client was completely unable to print. There was no fix -- WordPerfect's printing engine was completely incompatible with Windows 95. I was completely unable to fix the problem. Is this the same issue they're litigating over?

Re:I totally remember this! (3, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406546)

Believe it or not WordPerfect's problems with printing persisted at least until the last time I had to deal with it, which was WordPerfect Office X4 in XP about two years ago. I did get it to work, but frankly it was high IT voodoo - not the sort of thing in the range of your average geek. It takes a pretty committed customer to even ask for such a thing. Funny story: it had worked fine for over a year, but then a Windows Update came along that broke printing.

Either the WordPerfect programming team can make an awesome word processor capable of some really brilliant things - but are yet unable to figure out how printing works, or that Windows team really holds a grudge and continues to reverse engineer WP to break printing and other things. Up to the time I was dealing with the problem I would have gone with the latter. Now, not so much.

WordPerfect was bought by Corel, and in 2010 Corel was bought by "Vector Capital" - an investment group well shielded from discovery of who is actually behind it. If I were to venture an opinion about this, many here would be fitting me for a tinfoil hat. Let's just say my estimation of the chances of a commitment to renovation of WordPerfect to serve the obvious demand for the product and create a resurgence of it is effectively nil. WordPerfect is in my opinion really and truly dead.

I honestly believe that if WordPerfect were fixed and released it would generate a lot of sales and give a good return on investment. The people who like it really do like it. But I also believe that ain't gonna happen.

We saw this happen with OpenOffice too. It couldn't fall into worse hands than Oracle. But OpenOffice was open source, so forking was possible and there's hope LibreOffice will be one of the office software contenders in the future. WordPerfect doesn't have that open source feature. It can be killed, and I believe it has been.

Re:I totally remember this! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38407508)

The original versions of WordPerfect for Windows (WPfW) had their own print engine that did not use the Windows code. The reason for this (if I remember correctly, it was a long time ago), was the DOS versoins of WP had support for a huge number of printers, mostly created by WordPerfect Corp. itself. When Windows was released the printer support was less complete than WP had, and less consistent. As a result WPfW was written to support the print driver technology of WP to ensure that when it shipped WPfW supported the same range of printers that WP did. The end result was confusion, as printers needed a Windows driver for other apps and a WPfW driver, with possibly different capabilities and definitely different dialogue boxes.

IIRC WPfW 6 (possibly 5.2) would not even launch without crashing if it did not have a printer driver installed.

Re:I totally remember this! (1)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | more than 2 years ago | (#38408286)

WordPerfect doesn't have that open source feature. It can be killed, and I believe it has been.

I have little doubt that, had WordPerfect been open source, it would have become the word processor of choice on platforms where MS Office wasn't available. It still had a lot of mind share in the mid to late 1990s, when Linux was gaining steam. I don't know how profitable the WordPerfect business has been since then, but Novell/Corel might have been better off if they had released it as open source at the time.

Re:I totally remember this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38415464)

I have great doubt that it would have been the case. I've seen the source code for both WP and OO. Neither is particularly better than the other. I don't believe WP would have fared any better than OO did in the same circumstances. I worked at Corel (although it's a long time ago now) and the WP team was quite competent, but a lot of the stupidness in WP was baked in from the start. The WP team was never that large, so there was a limit to how much they could do.

Both Corel and Novell did quite well from WP. I can't remember the details, but it is public record so you can look it up in the earnings reports if you want, Novell took a portion of sales of WP for several years even after Corel bought it. Also verifiable from the public records you can see that revenue from Corel Draw shrunk back quite considerably at around the same time as the purchase and the office suite was responsible for most of the revenue of the company. I haven't checked, but I have no doubt that this is still the case.

WP has one killer feature that no other word processer has (or did in the past, anyway). It paginates footnotes properly. The US legal system has historically demanded that footnotes are paginated in a certain way and WP does it that way. Word, Open Offices, etc, etc do not. Furthermore, word processers like Word can't change the way they paginate footnotes because it will break the formatting of all existing documents. Thus if you want to print something for the US legal system, you must use WP (or LaTeX, I suppose, which also does it correctly).

Like I said, this is ancient history for me, so I have no idea if the situation persists. But the purchase of WP by Corel was brilliant (or... now that I think about who made the decision, I rather suspect it was dumb luck). Vector has also managed to make a tidy sum, I believe. If you want to see how Corel would have handled an open source WP, you merely have to look as far as the ill fated Corel Linux. They really had no clue how to make money from open source. Novell certainly had a bit more clue, but I'm not convinced they could have made an open source WP work.

In fact, I often wonder what would have happened if OO had never come along. To this day, I prefer using gnumeric to OO's spread sheet. Had the vacuum persisted for another year or two, would we have seen a decent word processer emerge?

Re:I totally remember this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410174)

where you write "Up to the time I was dealing with the problem I would have gone with the latter. Now, not so much." could you say it without former/latter. Two years ago you thought it more likely that Windows was being a jackass but the WP team was competent, and now you think Windows team doesn't care about them but the WP team is incompetent? Sorry, it just seems you're saying the opposite here as later about their being bought.

The MS is on the other foot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38406276)

Funny how the average slashdotter is typically against lawsuits like this, unless of course it's M$. Did any of you ever use wordperfect for windows back in those days (after it finally came out)? Novell lost because their product sucked.

There were some good competitors like Ami pro (later Lotus Wordpro) which were excellent, but Lotus got the whole integrated office suite together a little too late.

Re:The MS is on the other foot (1)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406402)

I remember Lotus 1-2-3...OMG has it been that long?

Re:The MS is on the other foot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38406442)

Not that long, I still have a couple of users who use Lotus 1-2-3. Ugh.

Re:The MS is on the other foot (2)

Arker (91948) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406416)

WordPerfect was by far the best word processing program at the time. WordPerfect for windows sucked, yes, because MS made sure of that, as you would realise very quickly if you would peruse the Novel exhibits in this case. I remember at the time we kept using the DOS version - even running it under Windows was far preferable to rescuing with Word.

Re:The MS is on the other foot (1)

The Askylist (2488908) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406704)

I remember when WordPerfect for Windows first came out, we wondered whether they had shipped with the debug code still in, because it ran so slowly. Upper management then made the decision to go with Word, which caused me no end of problems in retraining the secretaries. All the document management macros had to be rewritten for Word too. That probably soured my attitude to MS permanently ;-)

Re:The MS is on the other foot (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38406780)

I remember being at the Microsoft Professional Developer’s conference (PDC) in 1993 in. I sat behind a row of Word Perfect programming managers. They slept late, came in mid-morning, seemed to think it a great joke that they had been sent out of town on a junket for Windows, which was *never* going to take off. They laughed, passed notes, and dozed, paying little attention as they knew no one would ever want windows for real work. They were looking forward to Disneyland on Thursday night, though.

And so it went for a week of introductions to the MFC.

Two years later, WordPerfect for windows did not seem to be actually written for windows, and wordperfecomplained they had been tricked. To an observer, though, it looked as if they never tired, and then tried to shift blame later.

Re:The MS is on the other foot (2)

robbak (775424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406492)

Yes, Lotus Word Pro was great. Lotus 123 was everything that its history suggests it should be. Anyone else notice that Microsoft's Haaa-mazin' "Ribbon" is just Lotus' info-box, from the mid 90's, pinned to the top of the screen, where it takes up room the user needs for other things?

Re:The MS is on the other foot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38408534)

Ami-Pro/Lotus Wordpro were my first windows word processors. I bought them because I had little money and they were cheaper than MS Word or Wordperfect. Funny thing, although not a Microsoft product and presumably not privy to insider api knowledge, it worked great, arguably better than MS Word works today. The context menus in Ami pro worked sort of like the ribbon interface should work (without taking up 2" of screen real estate).

So how did the Ami-pro team do this where the huge behemoth Wordperfect could not?

Re:The MS is on the other foot (1)

robbak (775424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38412942)

A lot of this case is claiming that MS told Wordperfect "This is the interface to use", but then went and cut the interface when releasing '95. Wordperfect had done alot of work on that interface, which had to be scrapped.

Maybe AmiPro had missed (or ignored) the memo, and escaped the 'trap'.

Unanimous, since when? (2)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406734)

When Microsoft's on trial, a guilty verdict has to be unanmous?

Normally in a Civil trial unanimity is not required.

Re:Unanimous, since when? (1)

drawfour (791912) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411002)

You are incorrect. Jury trials (including civil) almost always require unanimous decisions. Some jurisdictions allow for a verdict to be returned even if one, two, or three jurrors dissent. If both sides agree, then the requirement for unanimous verdict can be loosened, but in this case, Microsoft did not agree.

For more reading, see Wikipedia's article on jury trials [wikipedia.org] , in the sections labeled "Civil trial procedure". Also, note that from the original article, "During jury deliberations, Motz [the judge] asked lawyers on both sides whether they would agree to accept a verdict that wasn't unanimous to avoid a mistrial. Microsoft's lawyers refused."

Sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38406796)

But Word Perfect and Quattro Pro for Windows sucked ass. And it had nothing to do with Microsoft. They were poorly coded and slow as constipated shit.

My recollection (2)

Jeff1946 (944062) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406850)

LIke most folks in the MSDOS world we used word perfect. When we went to Windows 3.1, obviously before 95, we tried various WYSIWYG word processors. Word worked ok, AMIPRO was fine (and my favorite) and WP for windows was just awful. Word had the advantage of being developed for the MAC which gave MS a significant headstart. I would assume the same for excel. The seamless tie-in of word, excel and powerpoint made if difficult for anyone else to compete. The better product won.

As an aside I believe word perfect for dos cost several hundred dollars and lotus 123 was $495. Now this buys you the office suite.

Let me guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38406976)

Gates/Balmer bought a juror.

I remember getting my CNE (1)

BenJCarter (902199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38407056)

20 years ago.

I am so glad to see *nix become a standard.

Bring on the voice activated TVs...
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