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Novell vs. Microsoft, Again

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the and-again-and-again dept.

The Courts 309

belmolis writes "As they promised, Novell has filed suit against Microsoft over WordPerfect. Here's the complaint, and here is Microsoft's press release in response. From what I know of the history, it seems very likely that Novell will be able to prove that Microsoft engaged in illegal anticompetitive behavior. Indeed, the complaint cites some of the same acts that figured in the US government case against MS. What isn't so clear to me is how much of the loss of market share they will be able to show was Microsoft's fault, since there seems to be a diversity of opinion regarding the relative quality of WordPerfect and MS Word." Reader tekiegreg points out Reuters' story on the new suit, as carried by Yahoo!.

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We need to ask ourselves... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809422)

Just who are the good guys here?

Are we so sure it's Novell? Keep in mind, Novell is made up of Mormons. Mormons, as you may know, are the driving force behind SCO and their lawsuit.

So, Mormons == SCO == Enemy of Linux.

Re:We need to ask ourselves... (3, Insightful)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809458)

Hehe.

Money is the main motivator for Novell, so they are neither the good or the bad guys, they are a potentially usefull ally to others who are into open source software to make money, and to the open source community (whatever that may be)

And as can be seen, they can also be a pain in the ass if they happen to have an issue with you and think they can get some money out of it.

GNAA announces hostile takeover of Electronic Arts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809423)

GNAA announces hostile takeover of Electronic Arts
Zeikfried - Reuters, Nigeria.
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Electronic Arts (EA) is the world's leading independent developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software for personal computers and advanced entertainment systems such as the PlayStation®2 Computer Entertainment System, the PlayStation®, Xbox(TM) video game console from Microsoft, the Nintendo GameCube(TM) and the Game Boy® Advance. Since its inception, EA has garnered more than 700 awards for outstanding software in the U.S. and Europe.
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.________________________________________________.
| ______________________________________._a,____ |
| _______a_._______a_______aj#0s_____aWY!400.___ |
| __ad#7!!*P____a.d#0a____#!-_#0i___.#!__W#0#___ |
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| _"#ga#9!01___"#01__40,_"4Lj#!_4#g_________"01_ |
| ________"#,___*@`__-N#____`___-!^_____________ |
| _________#1__________?________________________ |
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| ____a,___jk_GAY_NIGGER_ASSOCIATION_OF_AMERICA_ |
| ____!4yaa#l___________________________________ |
| ______-"!^____________________________________ | This logo is (C) 2003, 2004 GNAA [idge.net]
` _______________________________________________'

(C) GNAA 2004

Prove? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809426)

They just need enough evidence to get a settlement. I doubt MS will let it get to court.

Business strategy of the FUTURE :) (1)

Gentlewhisper (759800) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809627)

1) Invent phoney product
2) Let phoney product lose to dormant product
3) Sue leading company
4) ????
5) PROFIT!!

Re:Business strategy of the FUTURE :) (4, Informative)

HiThere (15173) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809664)

I think you have a short time horizon. WordPerfect was once the dominant word processing program. Actually, for a long time it was the dominant WP program (measuring "long time" in software turnover times. And it was sufficiently good that it survived until at least quite recently. (Perhaps lawyers no longer insist on WordPerfect, but if not that's a relatively recent phenomenon.)

Calling it a phoney product is a gross unfairness. A couple of versions of it were pretty bad, and their Mac version was never stable (or rather, I never used a version on the Mac that was stable), but that's a very different comment.

Go Novell! (0, Troll)

CubeDude213 (678340) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809428)

Hey, if you can't win once, sue again, right? It is the American way after all.

Re:Go Novell! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809534)

"Hey, if you can't win once, sue again, right? It is the American way after all."

Actually, it's, "If you do something once and get $536 million [reuters.com] from it, then why not do it again and get even more money?" And yes, this is definitely the American way.

Is quality an issue? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809432)

If a thief breaks into a house that is unlocked, has he comitted any less a crime because the owner was also neglegent?

Re:Is quality an issue? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809479)

No ... but if he breaks into your house it's a lot easier to prove, that's all. That alone is a good enough reason to lock your doors and windows.

Re:Is quality an issue? (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809706)

Yes. If he doesn't destroy any property, then he has comitted a smaller crime.

I GOT A GREASED UP YODA DOLL SHOVED UP MY ASS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809434)

GO LINUX!

Word Perfect for Windows was horrible (5, Insightful)

gordgekko (574109) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809443)

I don't know if Microsoft engaged in anti-competitive behavior but I do know that Novell probably nailed the coffin shut themselves with Word Perfect for Windows. That early implementation was so horrible switching to Word was an act of self-preservation.

Re:Word Perfect for Windows was horrible (5, Interesting)

Arker (91948) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809474)

Actually that's part of what they are alleging MicroSoft caused I believe. MS told them that OS/2 was the way to go, not to worry about a Windows implementation, and then hid the APIs needed to make a good Windows implementation at the same time.

But I do agree, the early WPWin was pretty bad, where I worked we stuck with the DOS versions, which fortunately ran quite well under Windows anyway.

Re:Word Perfect for Windows was horrible (1)

gordgekko (574109) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809503)

The university I went to back in the early to mid 90s refused to upgrade to the WPWindows version despite the quiet clamor by many to "get into the 90s" with the Windows version. They stuck with the MS-DOS version as well.

Re:Word Perfect for Windows was horrible (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809581)

Ya know what. Back in the day, the conventional wisdom *WAS* that OS/2 would own the business space. And given it's superiority in a lot of aspects to windows as late as 3.11, one really has to wonder exactly how IBM managed to fuck themselves.

I used to have wordperfect on my Apple II GS. One of my friends used it to write a huge ass long story. So then it came time to save it. So he dutifully puts in the disk he brought. Uh-Oh, not enough space. No big deal right? So I grab one of the few extras I have lying around and give it to him. Well Wordperfect only wants the disk it's decided it can't write too. And there's no way to break it out of it's little routine to print out the story. No one he knew ever bought another copy of wordperfect. It's not that once upon a time Wordperfect wasn't great. They just became complacent, and they did so right as the barriers for entry into their market were vanishing. There were a hundred kids writing word processers in highschool when they started to die. They might have a case against MS, but Novell sure doesn't.

Re:Word Perfect for Windows was horrible (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809877)

> one really has to wonder exactly how IBM managed to fuck themselves.

In the same way that WP got screwed over. They tought they could trust MS to actually do what they were saying.

Re:Word Perfect for Windows was horrible (1)

DavidBrown (177261) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809648)

In my experience, WordPerfect for Windows v.6.1 (from the Windows 3.1 days, was pretty darn good - my office still uses it today. WP7-9 were buggy and sucked because of it. WP10 seemed to fix the major problems WP had, and 11 and 12 each run better.

It's this Microsoft's fault? Not really.

Re:Word Perfect for Windows was horrible (5, Insightful)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809504)

But that doesn't make MS's anticompetitive behavior any less illegal: "Well, I murdered him, but he had terminal cancer, so it's not as bad."

Re:Word Perfect for Windows was horrible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809700)

Not to mention the cancer was caused by you poisoning his water.

Re:Word Perfect for Windows was horrible (1)

PyroPunk (545300) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809505)

I agree. It's kind of like Netscape and IE, there came a time when IE was actually a better product and people chose it because of that. My first IBM computer came with Netscape and Lotus Smartsuite. I used them for a long time until I tried IE and Office and found the alternatives better. This was back in the day before MS shoved those products down your throat. Wordperfect was a great product but the early Windows implementation couldn't hold a candle to Microsoft's offering.

Re:Word Perfect for Windows was horrible (5, Interesting)

natd (723818) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809508)

And [from memory and by RTFA] Novells basic argument is that MS witheld critical information about the Windows API which meant WP hadn't a chance to be a decent program compared to Word without using undocumented features/bugs. Word on the other hand had a leg up using inside information about how Windows works / is best used.

It is a bit of a grey area, but I think the fact that MSs Office and Windows divisions were told to keep some distance from each other a few years back is relevant. Ie, the Office team aren't to be given preferential treatment and knowledge over 3rd parties.

Re:Word Perfect for Windows was horrible (5, Insightful)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809712)

Its like telling Ford telling Goodyear that all tires will be 18 inch rims from now on. After Goodyear starts making 18 inch tires, Ford comes out with 21 inch rims and their own tire company.

Then to top it off, they force all dealerships to only sell Ford tires after Goodyear has the new product.

How much more anti-competitive can you get? They forced companies out of business with contracts, false information, and lies. It is business, but they crossed the lines into Anti-competitive territory.

Re:Word Perfect for Windows was horrible (5, Interesting)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809602)

I don't know if Microsoft engaged in anti-competitive behavior but I do know that Novell probably nailed the coffin shut themselves with Word Perfect for Windows. That early implementation was so horrible switching to Word was an act of self-preservation.

I worked for WordPerfect as a Software Tester (Software Quality Engineer) between 1992 and 1994 so I have first-hand knowledge of how slimy Microsoft's competitive tactics were. When I started working at WP, they owned over 90% of the PC Word Processing market. MS set their sights on them and stooped to all kinds of levels to rub them out of the market. As a matter of fact, on the WP campus in Orem, UT, we had an entire building called building S that was dedicated to Security. Rows and rows of black and white TVs connected up to closed circuit cameras planted all over the campus. There were hundreds of them. You see, MS had a habit of hiring corporate spies to sit in the parking lot with binoculars and write down code snippets they saw on white-boards in the developers offices. Dumpster diving, you name it, all sorts of corporate espionage went on. They had more security there than most defense contractors. They had to. Microsoft has always played a dirty game.

The first few versions of WordPerfect for Windows were by default crippled because Microsoft kept the (important) Windows APIs undocumented. Any new features that WordPerfect was working on behind closed doors were somehow stolen and announced in a press release by MS the day before WP had scheduled a press release to announce them. There were half a dozen employees in the marketing department and even development that were found to be on MS payroll and ended up getting fired.

Microsoft is one of the most unethical companies I know of. Their tactics should land them in the corporate malfeasance hall of fame along with the likes of Enron, but instead, they are worshipped as the darling of Wall Street.

As one of many former WordPerfect engineers who was sad to see such a great company get rubbed out of the market, I can tell you first hand that MS Word would be a much better program right now if it had any legitimate competitors.

Windows Server would also be a much better server product if they hadn't used their dominance on the Windows desktop to rub Novell out of the server market as well, although, in that case, Novell hastened their own doom by refusing to acknowledge that IPX was doomed and TCP/IP was the wave of the future.

It's good to see Novell finally doing what they should have done 10 years ago... stick it to those anti-competitive mo-fos.

Re:Word Perfect for Windows was horrible (2, Informative)

natd (723818) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809725)

although, in that case, Novell hastened their own doom by refusing to acknowledge that IPX was doomed and TCP/IP was the wave of the future.

Interesting post, but I don't agree that IPX was the cause of Novells loss of market share. I was able to dump IPX on my NetWare networks in late 98 and early 99. Before that we did use IP and route it on our NetWare boxes. And when Novell dumped it, they dumped it - no encapsulating their old protoculs in tcp/ip as Windows did (does?).

NetWare (and all the benefits of NDS that came with it) remained a better product for all but those who wanted a combined workstation/server or something that you could run end user utilities on. Novell lost mind share by not recognising that good engineering alone doesn't make you sucessful - no matter how strong a position you start with.

The world changed, IT departments dumbed down as Windows PC users came out of school (I'm one of that vintage - only 30 y/o now). Marketing was king and you rebooted things, not fix them. Bad server performance is solved with a faster cpu, not faster code. Windows fitted perfectly into this world with a glossy veneer that the decision makers love.

Wasn't WP a monopoly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809733)

When I started working at WP, they owned over 90% of the PC Word Processing market.

Doesn't that make it a monopoly? That's the percent Windows had at the time it was considered a monopoly.

Re:Wasn't WP a monopoly? (2, Interesting)

plopez (54068) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809760)

Monopolies are not illegal. using a monopoly to create new monopolies in other areas is. This is what MS was convicted of.

Re:Wasn't WP a monopoly? (5, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809763)

When I started working at WP, they owned over 90% of the PC Word Processing market.

Doesn't that make it a monopoly? That's the percent Windows had at the time it was considered a monopoly.


Quite possibly they did have an effective monopoly, yes. The key point is that having an effective monopoly is not illegal. Using your monpoly position to unfairly leverage other products - that is what gets you in trouble.

Jedidiah

Re:Wasn't WP a monopoly? (2, Interesting)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809774)

Doesn't that make it a monopoly? That's the percent Windows had at the time it was considered a monopoly.

Yes, but as others have already pointed out, having a monopoly is not in and of itself illegal. It's what you do with that monopoly that matters. WordPerfect was an ethical company. They treated their employees and customers well, and gave FREE technical support to all of their customers. I'll leave it for you to decide who you would rather have as your corporate master.

Re:Word Perfect for Windows was horrible (2)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809781)

You see, MS had a habit of hiring corporate spies to sit in the parking lot with binoculars and write down code snippets they saw on white-boards in the developers offices

This has got to be the biggest BS I have seen on slashdot

Nice hyperbole. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809785)

First, defense contractors frequently start with a windoless building at the low end of their security scale. So clearly your collegues didn't take security as seriously as you imply.

How many police reports were filed? How many newspaper editorials written? How many lawsuits filed after apprehending the guys in the parking lot? Former employees sued? After all what's the incentive for keeping it a secret war? The public would love the spectical, and everyone would love the publicity. Then, who did Novell send over to the Microsoft campus? Let's say I take you at your sentiment, and accept that no one did. They had it demonstrated that the rules of the game are thus, and then in the interests of personal integrity they decide not to follow suit. Commendable, but if someone decided to fight dirty you'd better be more talented. It might take two people to have a fight, but it only takes one to deliver an ass-whooping. Then was it in the interests of personal integrity that they let Mircosoft slide back then? Are the too poor to afford personal integrity now? And finally, if they are, who's fault is that? Microsoft fought them for a market which by even your account Novell didn't want to fight for. And you even attribute the act of not fighting for a market as competition? Is Microsoft one company, under Gates, for bitches and by bitches after all? Yeah. And your complaint is that they didn't roll over faster that the wordperfect crew. Give up and die works about as well for programs as it does in the marketplace. In fact it's just behind, "Hurry, let's cobble together some awful crap, that works just well enough to infuriate but not enrage our customers, hoping no one looks and it gets fixed in the coming decade."

Microsoft didn't kill Wordperfect, complacency did. Hell, Microsoft even got the better name.

Re:Word Perfect for Windows was horrible (2, Insightful)

ToasterTester (95180) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809642)

I'll second that. WordPerfect for DOS was a great program one of the most intutive around. Then they did WordPerfect Mac, constant delays and it was a total piece of crap. Took a couple releases to come close to being usable. Then WordPerfect Windows you think Novell would of learned their lesson. Moving from one platform to different one isn't a port job, it has to be treated like a new product with new code base. They took a great product and killed it. MS didn't kill WordPerfect, WordPerfect committed sucide.

Then factor in Ray Norda running Novell at the time trying to take on the world. He screwed 3Com and Banyan out of business worse than anything Bill Gate has ever done. Norda thought he could take on MS and started acquiring everything in sight hardware, applications, and Unix. All he succeeded in doing was draining Novell and almost kill them. Maybe if Norda had kept Novell a server company Windows NT might not of become a major product for MS.

Novell still has a brain dead marketing department. They are a rock solid file and print server, but their market share sucks. They are way to expensive for small business to use, and dirt cheap for enterprises. Find a compromise in your pricing and build some market share.

WP - OpenOffice? (1)

Famatra (669740) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809704)

Why doesn't Novell donate WP to the LGPL so it can be put into OpenOffice? I am sure there must be some part ( the non buggy parts ;) ) that could be useful.

If a project is going to go bankrupt might as well replease it as a GPL, you've really have little to lose, which is why I was diapointed that 321 studios didn't release their copying software before shutting down.

Re:Word Perfect for Windows was horrible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809761)

I worked for Corel throughout the purchase of WordPerfect.

No offense to the good people of Orem, UT but compared to Corel in Ottawa (and accounting for currency and cost-of-living differences), Wordperfect developers got paid too much, left work well before 5p every day, and left a big ass nasty pile of code.

Resting on your laurels won't compete with M$ business practices for very long.

Diversity of opinion (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809448)

since there seems to be a diversity of opinion regarding the relative quality of WordPerfect and MS Word
Yep. Opinion will vary between those that think Word sucks, those that think Word blows, and those that think Word sucks AND blows.

Re:Diversity of opinion (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809861)

The trouble is that everything else (except emacs and nano -- and vi, so as not to start a flame war) sucks and/or blows worse!

Wordperfect was a superior product... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809486)

At the time that Novell took over the Wordperfect line, it was a vastly superior product in comparison to Word. WP was very consistent and reacted to various situations with expected behavior...bulleted lists, numbered lists, indentation. It was so much better than Word that is was the defacto word processor of choice for both the legal and medical industries for years to come...mainly because legal and medical documents demanded predictable formatting. Even today I find Word autoformatting in weird or unexpected ways...

-h3dge

Re:Wordperfect was a superior product... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809736)

Corel sold customized versions of Word Perfect to the legal and medical markets. WordPerfect finds its legal niche [ceeprompt.com] (1997) But here is the kicker:

WordPerfect Legal Edition 7 is a 16-bit version that will run on either Windows 3.x or 95 platform. The 32-bit version for Windows 95 is under development.

hey whats the link for goatse again? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809488)

man It's been soo long since I've rest my eyes on such facinating work of art. Can someone send it to me? ( rrt@wagged.com )

Go underdog go!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809489)

You lost on the free market, try to win in the court.

Re:Go underdog go!!! (3, Insightful)

eokyere (685783) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809568)

it is no longer a "free market" if 1 person is pulling the strings; which is what they (novell) hopes to prove in court... ... you lost on the non-free market, try to get compensated in court; in the process, try to get the market free (as should be)

-1, RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809654)

nt

That time already? (5, Funny)

jedkiwi (825683) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809493)

Is it really that time again for another antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft? Geez, at the rate they are piling in, Microsoft might as get out while the gettings good. Not that many people here would mind...

It doesn't matter if they can prove it (4, Insightful)

yorkpaddy (830859) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809497)

It doesn't matter if they can prove it. Microsoft will just write them a check that amounts to less than 1% of their war chest. Microsoft will continue breaking laws because no enforcement technique can control them.

Re:It doesn't matter if they can prove it (2, Interesting)

relaxrelax (820738) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809613)


"no enforcement technique can control them [Microsoft]"

I disagree; there is an enforcement technique to control them.

On top of paying the money, let them lose copyright/patent over a percentage of their lines of codes/applications equivalent to the market share lost by the other company.

Letting the other company choose what MS copyrights/patents are lost, of course. Otherwise MS would dump sol.exe and clippy. Think of the brain damage a free clippy would cause! (-;

At that rate, ALL windows code should be free source in 10 years... so soon enough we'll get a Linux and a BSD with word, sol.exe, and that tax program you use only once a year that the government refuses to make for linux.

Re:It doesn't matter if they can prove it (1)

yorkpaddy (830859) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809684)

I don't think I have ever heard of a court imposing that penalty on a company.

Re:It doesn't matter if they can prove it (1)

iabervon (1971) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809726)

On the other hand, this series of lawsuits will provide good income for Novell for a while. If Microsoft is going to keep settling all the time, we can fill in step 2:

2. Sue Microsoft and settle for 0.1% of their war chest.

Re:It doesn't matter if they can prove it (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809742)

Microsoft will just write them a check that amounts to less than 1% of their war chest.

"Less than 1% of their war chest"? That's a rather weak prediction. Microsoft has a $40 billion war chest. This puts an upper limit of $400 million on the check.

I'll bet Novell wins this case easily and receives a check amounting to 0.0000000025% of Microsoft's war chest.

Re:It doesn't matter if they can prove it (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809871)

I think the check will be for more than $100.

Re:It doesn't matter if they can prove it (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809888)

Oh, there's definitely enforcement techniques that can control them, the only trouble is that the government refuses to use them!

Sure there are techniques (5, Interesting)

k98sven (324383) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809895)

They're called anti-trust laws.

Instead of stating 'no enforcement technique can control them', perhaps you should be asking 'Why has the government failed at enforcing existing anti-trust laws'.

Should politics really have the control they do over the enforcement of laws?

And should business have the control it does over politics?

The fact that a single business can make a big contribution to a political party and then get away from federal procecution is nothing short of a scandal. The fact that it's not is one of the biggest things which irritates me about US politics today.

The american people seem to have reached a kind of point where they've completely quit looking forward and outward on ways to improve their society. Any long-term issue in US politics is treated as if it was insolvable. When the international perspective shows that the problem is actually US-specific, and that it has been solved elsewhere, we shrug and say 'Ah, well that's over there. The US is different.'

The USA is not fundamentally different. It's yet another democratic market-economy in a world with dozens of them. Sure the USA is unique in ways. Sure there are cultural differences, and political differences and so on. But that doesn't mean that there are no solutions.

It means that people are disregarding them, because, ultimately, they don't want things to change.

Ok, end of rant.

Well... (-1, Flamebait)

Marthisdil (606679) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809507)

I guess if Novell can't make money in the real world anymore, they gotta try suing people to try and make their bottom line look better.

WordPerfect was great, before they came out with the Windows version. Once that happened, WordPerfect blew more chunks than a crackwhore with a beer-bong.

Ah well...I'm sure the MS haters will love this one too.

A lot of their complaints appear to be about IE (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809509)

It looks like the majority of their complaints come about because Microsoft didn't document the hooks in shdocvw that IE is using, which meant that they couldn't integrate web browsing into wordperfect...

They also claim that Microsoft represented Windows 95 as a 32 bit operating system even though it wasn't. Which is a wierd claim.

Re:A lot of their complaints appear to be about IE (1)

FiReaNGeL (312636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809541)

I'm sure they'll have trouble proving the demise of WordPerfect was due to lack of integrated web browsing capabilities... WPwindows was BAD... at the time, MSWord was seen like a salvation. My sister forced me to reinstall their latest version (6? 7? can't remember)... I still make nightmares at night.

complaints about IE ?? - was no WWW in 1991 !! (2, Insightful)

indaba (32226) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809711)

Wordperfect for Windows was released around November 1991.

How on earth can WP complain about lack of hooks into IE, when the WWW (well, the browser portion) didn't even exist in 1991-1992 !!

And if you do a help/about in IE, it says copyright 1995-2004

Re:A lot of their complaints appear to be about IE (1)

Feanturi (99866) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809765)

which meant that they couldn't integrate web browsing into wordperfect...

That's the part I'm not understanding, why are they harping on about IE? The last time I wanted to be able to browse the web from within my wordprocessor was, umm let's see.. Never. They are aware that windows is a multitasking environment, yes? Or do they close their wordprocessor every time they want to see their desktop, to load something else?

Re:A lot of their complaints appear to be about IE (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809927)

They are aware that windows is a multitasking environment, yes? Or do they close their wordprocessor every time they want to see their desktop, to load something else?
Maybe they weren't, since DOS was still popular! Up until that time, people really did have to close one program to use another.

Groklaw, T - 1 and counting (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809530)

Nice to know Slashdot gets around to something a whole 24 hours after Groklaw [groklaw.net] does...

I used to be able to hit Slashdot and get a good reading on breaking geek-type news. Hell, FreeRepublic is probably breaking news faster then Slashdot nowadays, and I'd bet they don't have anywhere near as many dupes...

Re:Groklaw, T - 1 and counting (1)

Zen Punk (785385) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809686)

Yeah, tell me about it. I heard about this case on NPR more than a full day before I read this story here.

I thought (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809532)

I thought the government anti-trust case meant that nobody else had to prove that Microsoft had engaged in such activities.

Given that Microsoft has been clearing the decks by settling a lot of issues out of court (including one with Novell), I wonder why they decided to fight this one.

History (3, Interesting)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809533)

I heard at the time (when Windows started making the rounds as a gadget on top of MS-DOS), that Microsoft had pleaded with the big MS-DOS third-party software suppliers to port their office programs to Windows, and they had showed little interest or downright declined. They wanted to wait till that "Windows" thing was a success before they committed themselves to anything. So MS, knowing that in the absence of an office suite, the success of Windows was almost impossible, decided to develop the office suite themselves, and the rest is history. Is that true? Has anybody heard of it or knows more about that particular issue?

Re:History (2, Informative)

yorkpaddy (830859) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809599)

I have read that too. I think Bill Gates is quoted "We went to all the software shops and asked them to write for Windows, they all declined. Our internal software shop didn't have that option". I read this in "the plot to get Bill Gates"

Re:History (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809693)

I've heard it asserted. This doesn't necessarily mean I believe it. Some documentation of the claim would be nice.

I've also heard that MS released and changed specs on their external developers several times, which might explain WHY they would encounter reluctance. But again, I don't have any documentation.

Re:History (1)

fgb (62123) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809830)

As I recall it, Microsoft (along with IBM) were pushing OS/2 as *the* platform of the future. They convinced many large ISVs to develop for OS/2 instead of DOS or Windows (2.0 at the time).

When they released Windows 3.0, Word and Excel were the only productivity apps available. Lotus & WordPerfect had bet on OS/2 and lost.

Ok, that's it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809545)

I'm going to buy the new Suse tomorrow.

Not that I'm a big Suse fan, but I simply like Novel better every day.

Go get them tiger!

SOL? (1)

eokyere (685783) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809548)

i find it interesting that the first card ms has pulled out (in their press release) is the statute of limitations... ianal, but the _actual_ time the clock starts ticking could actually be argued? plus, if that really is a limitation, then novell could file in a state that has a higher cap on the SOL?

Word Sucks (3, Interesting)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809560)

WordPerfect was a damn good program. WP sold out to Novell, then Novell sold out to Corel. And through either incompetence (or perhaps due to MS), it died while a child of Corel.

Re:Word Sucks (3, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809631)

In the early days of the IBM PC clone market, there were over 20 word processor vendors. To help consumers pick a choice, the computer magazines at the time (Personal Computer World) would display check box charts displaying all the features that each word processor had (or did not have). This constant pressure led to many of the companies to merge in order to combine features. Eventually, the word processor market was reduced to a handful of companies. Microsoft did their usual thing of constantly adding new features at a rate that no-one else could compete against.

Re:Word Sucks (2, Interesting)

mkoenecke (249261) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809641)

WordPerfect still *is* a damn good program, and is far superior to Word. The trouble is the WordPerfect for Windows 5.2 was a poor port of WP DOS 5.1, then when they finally got the features together, WPWin 6.0 was buggier than hell. By the time they (Novell) got it right with WPWin 6.1, enormous market share and credibility had been lost.

Then, of course, Microsoft leveraged its Windows OS dominance into office suite dominance: if you bundled something other than Office (instead of WP Suite or Lotus Suite) and Internet Explorer (instead of Netscape), you had to pay more for the operating system. That bundling insured Microsoft Office's ascension.

I have to use Word for one client who insists on documents in that format. Getting the formatting straight (especially with outline numbering, which we lawyers use a lot) is an absolute nightmare compared to WordPerfect: it takes me three times as long to produce a decent contract. Thank heavens we still have a choice, though it's not a popular one.

Re:Word Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809657)

And through either incompetence (or perhaps due to MS), it died while a child of Corel.

Lets be real here - is there anything Corel hasn't killed? Everything I've seen from them has gone downhill.

Re:Word Sucks (1)

puddpunk (629383) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809721)

Just look at Corel Linux :( ended up as a well loved company we know today. Although, I loved Corel Draw with all my heart :)

Re:Word Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809732)

i was a project leader at corel when wordperfect was acquired. this bet-the-company strategy only seemed like a smart idea through the rose-colored glasses of narcissistic ceo mike cowpland, who left not long after things started to go south.

of course, corel did have a maturing product line that was starting to hit a revenue wall (can anyone remember three versions of draw for sale simultaneously?), so a move in some direction was important for growth.

corel's leadership has been a lifelong problem but to be completely fair to corel, by the time of the acquisition, it would have required a hell of a strong leadership team to keep wordperfect above water.

ps. that codebase was whack..

As Always (1)

Coolnat2004 (830862) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809562)

Microsoft Word has always had a whole help section dedicated to getting Wordperfect users to like Word better, and explains the differences between the two.

And, ironically, Microsoft's WordPerfect history fact sheet is in the Word .doc format.

hmm. (1)

MyOrangeJulius (823267) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809563)

It seems to me Novell has a major problem differentiating the words "using" and "abusing."

Repetitive convictions (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809573)

In my country, if a criminal commits crimes repeatedly, he gets a bigger sentence... why doesn't this seem to apply to cooperations?

I think the whole lot of Microsoft should've been jailed for a couple of life times by now :)

Hmm, then again, Microsoft settles alot...

Re:Repetitive convictions (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809909)

in your country do accused criminal get directly sent to the electric chair?

Word(perfect) (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809576)

Wordperfect was even worse than Word, which is hard to imagine, I know.

In this case, Micosoft won because it had the better product.

Re:Word(perfect) (1)

audacity242 (324061) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809636)

Um, yeah, what planet are you on?

There's a reason that many law firms STILL use WordPerfect 5.1 to this day, and that's 'cause Word is horrendous when it comes to heavily formatted documents.

And I'll never cease to get annoyed at its tendency to tack on a blank page at the end of any document where the text terminates near or at the end of a page.

-Jenn

shooting yourself in the foot (2, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809827)

"Corel disappointed much of the legal market in 2001 when it abandoned its legal suite, which had a very loyal following.

Amicus, HotDocs and Deal Proof links disappeared with the legal suite. Though some legal-specific features were retained in WordPerfect 2002, the legal suite enjoyed great popularity and its demise undermined Corel's standing with lawyers, especially solos and small firms, which liked the bundled third party legal software."

Shackled to Microsoft: What It Means To The Legal Profession [senseient.com] (2002)

Old MS Motto: (2, Interesting)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809582)

"It ain't done, until Lotus won't run."

True then, probably true now.

Novell finally getting justice after many years (5, Informative)

zap_branigan (691916) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809606)

Those of you like me who have been Novell shops since the dawn of time, do remember how Microsoft screwed Novell so many times years ago. Purposely putting code in NT support packs to slow down the Netware client(has been documented), amongst many other things. I am glad Novell will finally see their vengeance with these 2 lawsuits. And of course we have NLD, groupwise for linux is taking off, and Netware for Linux due in February.

Tactic to get revenue (2, Insightful)

Space_Soldier (628825) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809607)

This is just a tactic to get revenue. This law suit is very late, they should have done that at that time. Also, they don't own WordPerfect anymore. I'd expect Corel to sue them.

Re:Tactic to get revenue (1)

anon mouse-cow-aard (443646) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809671)

I read somewhere that ownership of the right to sue Microsoft was explicitly excluded when Novell sold WordPerfect to Corel.

Re:Tactic to get revenue (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809791)

If they can prove that there was wrong doing, then they would just be recouping some of the revenue they should have recieved if MS had abided by the law. Personnally I hope more companies join in and slowly drain any ill gotten gains out of MS.

Just stupid (3, Insightful)

eihab (823648) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809634)

This is just stupid.

If you read Novell's complaint they mention Microsoft's integration of IE into windows, which was the reason WordPerfect failed.

Browsing has nothing to do with word processing, and I just don't buy that "... the integration of browsing functions into Windows, coupled with Microsoft's refusal to publish certain of these functions was a primary strategy for excluding Novell's application ..." (Sec. 7, Page 3, from the complaint [novell.com] ).

I believe they're just trying to piggyback on the Anti-trust law suite that was filed against MicroSoft by the US government.

I'd be very surprised if the court would even consider their claims.

Novell, be happy with the 500 something million dollars you got for Netware and move on!

Novell: Thanks for the money, now lets go to court (1)

twivel (89696) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809644)

Nice way to chew off one piece at a time.

Glad to see (2, Interesting)

rqqrtnb (753156) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809646)

Glad to see Novell feisty again. It's clear they are right and are owed damages. On a side note, our company ditched MS this year and went back to Novell. Security was the main concern as well as spiralling costs of supporting MS servers. It's kind of cool to see Novell servers in all the locations again, like it used to be.

Anticompetitive Behaviour (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809660)

What surprises me most in reading the last few entries, especially given the usual hatred toward MS that most slashdotters share, is the sympathetic view with MS that WordPerfect died simply because it was an inferior product.

Now, this may partially be true, but MS has a documented history of forcing business partners to nullify contracts with companies that make products that could compete with Microsoft's. This is a huge problem, and very easily could lead to the death of a product. Using their contracts with IBM as an example, if MS demands that IBM no longer sell PCs with WordPerfect as the word processor, and threaten to yank all Windows licenses if they do not comply, two things happen: 1. IBM drops WordPerfect out of necessity, given that 95% of desktops run Windows and that IBM cannot sell a PC without it, and 2. Wordperfect dies a quick death. If losing a contract with IBM, which would have guaranteed hundreds of thousands of sales, is not enough, then they die as the same MS strong-arm techniques are applied to other PC manufacturers like Sony, Compaq, HP, Gateway, etc.

The net result? Wordperfect heavily declines by being illegally muscled out of its main business. Then, with no fresh capital, it cannot integrate newer and more innovative features that consumers demand, and eventually dies from being unable to compete. In the end, Microsoft blames a poor product, while in reality illegal and anticompetitive business practices killed it long before.

When will the US government impose a worthwhile and equitable penalty that actually means something to a company with nearly 50 BILLION in cash saved up?

Yahoo vs. Yahoo! (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809680)


Is some poor bastard going to get screwed on copyright violation if people forget the "!"? Similarly, if court ducuments omit the "!", does this render claims invalid?

Maybe people should start putting odd, difficult-to reproduce keyboard characters into their company names.

Clip This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809696)

Any idiot who makes a dancing, annoying, "aide" such as clippit the paperclip deserves to be sued

Tomorrow's headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10809703)

Novell vs. Microsoft, Again
As they promised, Microsoft has filed suit against Novell over Mono.

Whats wrong with this sentence... (1)

jedaustin (52181) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809728)

Wow, I clicked on the link in the parent article and learned a new word: Dowloand :)

"# Dowloand Novell's November 12 Antitrust Filing Against Microsoft"

All I can say to Novell... Get em!

Hey! My product failed! (2, Interesting)

NHSheep (694556) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809741)

The calculator I wrote in BASIC didn't sell too well due to actions of Microsoft. I demand you pay me.

Seriously. These lawsuits are getting fucking crazy. It seems that every product which has failed will eventually seek damages from Microsoft. Sure, some of their business tactics are shady, but they work. When aiming for maximum profit, why wouldn't a company seek to enter into new, profitable markets? These business practices, such as withholding information, are good ones. Hell, if I owned a business, I'd engage in similar tactics!

I guess lawsuits are good for making up profit losses too. It's just a more public form of underhanded tactic.

Re:Hey! My product failed! (1)

chocotof (691813) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809921)

My dear man,

in what age are you living ?

It is currently ABSOLUTELY impossible to venture into new Software markets ... Why ? because as soon as those markets begin to become profitable, MS will surely dive into them promising heaven to users and dumping their products without any profit on the market, squeezing any newcomer straight out. (like they did many times before and are doing still EXCEPT for Windows and Office for which they charge extravagant profits )

Knowing how much money it takes to market just one software package, you will not find any venture capitalist willing to spend any dollar (or other currency) on it.

Re:Hey! My product failed! (3, Insightful)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809937)

Was the calculator you wrote in BASIC once a market leader, and was unable to compete because MS intentionally sabotaged it from running properly on their OS? If so, then you might have a case (IANAL).

MS *has been found guilty* in a court of law. Eg, they are a convict. Why isnt someone in jail? Why are they allowed to *CONTINUE* breaking the same laws?

Why don't they use WordPerfect? (1)

cockroach2 (117475) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809847)

Apparently [google.ch] Novell people use MS word (or at least the MS word file format)...

could be very expensive for MS (1)

scotty777 (681923) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809862)

Anticompetitive practices by monopolists (if proved in court) can result in triple damages, and usually do. The damages are not limited to market share loss. If it can be shown that MS lowered prices as a competitive tactic, then Novel WP profit loss can be calculated based on the prevailing prices prior to the anticompetitive practices.

Accrued interest can als be factored in.

Can you say "break the bank"?

weak (1, Insightful)

js3 (319268) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809873)

I read the pdf most of it is just a rehash of the government vs microsoft antitrust case where ms was found to be a monopoly and behave in an anticompetitive manner. A large chunk of the document references this over and over again.

They complain about missing API etc but no specifics, then again we all know what happens when you use undocumented functions.. they become incompatible in later oses. I imagine their complaints are based on the reasoning, "You published API's to open/save/print documents in windows 3.11, but it didn't work properly when windows 95 was released", it could be true but this problem affected the millions of other software that were rendered incompatible in the move to windows 95. Hell even moving from win98 or winXP introduced compatibility problems.

I'm betting they are hoping for a settlement, they aren't going to win anything in this case.. but then again when your business runs on giving shit away, your source of revenue tends to come from lawsuits.

Forced to dump WordPerfect (5, Interesting)

Neoporcupine (551534) | more than 9 years ago | (#10809910)

I was managing IT for a department where we standardised on WordPerfect. The initial release of any new version was always buggy, but patches would quickly stabilise WordPerfect into a solid package.

Then we merged with another department who were MS Word users. The new head of department demanded that everyone use MS Word. His justification was that they made the operating system and so the office package must be the best. All the WordPerfect users were forced to switch. They were stunned at how awkward many functions were in MS Word, the lack of power, the interference of the automatic features, and the numerous bugs. I have had to replace a couple destroyed keyboards from users that went ape over the frustrations of using MS Word. They switched to MS Word 7 years ago and they still complain.

The university made a deal with Microsoft so that we could install Office on any university system we wanted and staff could use it on home computers for free. WordPerfect can't match it. To make matters worse, Corel have dramatically increased the price on the academic edition of WordPerfect and the money people won't let me buy a single copy.

Pretty much, the whole world uses MS Office these days. For anyone else who has used any other product, you KNOW that something is wrong when something so mediocre has total market dominance.

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