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Gates testifies in $1B WordPerfect Lawsuit against Microsoft

The iconic Microsoft leader Bill Gates is to testify again today, defending his company against a $1 billion antitrust lawsuit which is claiming that Microsoft tricked a competitor into huge losses.

Novell Inc sued Microsoft in 2004. They claim that Gates fooled them into thinking he would include their WordPerfect software with Windows 95 but backed out because he thought it was ‘too good'.

Novell said that they had to sell WordPerfect for a $1.2 billion loss.

Gates said yesterday that Microsoft were rushing to get Windows 95 launched, and they had to drop some technical features which would no longer support WordPerfect, engineers feared it could crash the system.

He said “We worked super hard. It was the most challenging, trying project we had ever done. It was a ground-breaking piece of work, and it was very well received when we got it done.”

WordPerfect was released for many platforms

Gates passed the buck to Novell and said that they couldn't get a new version of the program ready in time that was compatible with Windows 95. He added that they felt their Word software was better regardless, which was reflected by sales, as it was in the Number 1 position.

It is hard to believe that WordPerfect once had 50 percent of the market for word processing software, but once Word hit the scene, they dropped to 10 percent market share.

Microsoft argue that Novell have really no one to blame but themselves, because they didn't develop a compatible WordPerfect package until months after Windows 95 was released.

ABC news add “Attorneys for Novell, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Attachmate Group as a result of a merger earlier this year, concede that Microsoft was under no legal obligation to provide advance access to Windows 95 so Novell could prepare a compatible version. The Redmond, Wash.-based company, however, enticed Novell to work on a version, only to withdraw support months before Windows 95 hit the market, Novell attorney Jeff Johnson said.

Microsoft lawyer David Tulchin argued that Novell's missed opportunity was its own fault, and that Microsoft had no obligation to give a competitor a leg up.”

Kitguru says: WordPerfect? Do you remember it? It was actually a really good word processing package.

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