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Novell vs. Microsoft, Again 309

Posted by timothy
from the and-again-and-again dept.
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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Novell vs. Microsoft, Again

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  • Prove? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 13, 2004 @07:33PM (#10809426)
    They just need enough evidence to get a settlement. I doubt MS will let it get to court.
  • by gordgekko (574109) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @07:36PM (#10809443) Homepage
    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.
    • by Arker (91948) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @07:40PM (#10809474) Homepage

      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.

      • 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.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        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
      • 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.

        • Version 6.1(DOS) was a very good version, in my view. Stable (6.0 had some problems but we got a free upgrade and 6.1 fixed them,) keystroke compatibility with 5.1 on toggle with a more GUI mode that was easier for new users, and also for the first time with a WYSIWYG mode which I found helpful when working with charts and graphs. But several people in the office asked me to roll back 5.1 anyway - they already knew how to do everything with it, and it did run faster in less memory - very important running i

        • by bogie (31020)
          6.1 was a great WP. Post 6.1 they got caught up in trying to compete against MS's Full suite and didn't transition to Win32 ie Win 95 that well. They lost out big time by waiting so long to produce a fully "32 bit" version of their suite while Office 95 was out right away and without piracy guards got installed on every corp PC in the world. Maybe MS withholding technical info factored in here? Assuring that in the new Win32 world Novell would never be able to compete on equal footing with Microsoft? Guess
        • You have the exact opposite experience I had: I found WP for windows nearly unusable until version 8, and I've loved 8 and 9. Version 6.1 was much better than 5.2 for windows, but still extraordinarly bloated and buggy. There were tons of problems with it: it didn't work in certain colour modes, it did wierd things to the title-bar, it would crash (bringing down the whole windows 3.1 system)... version 7 was no better; it was basically the same thing but windows 95 based. I had to support it for custom
      • There were some APIs that were not revealed by MS, but it didn't stop many other companies from creating good and successful products.

        If WordPerfect Corporation (the company that owned WordPerfect at the time they started to lose their market share) really believed that they couldn't produce a non-buggy Windows version of WordPerfect due to insufficient info from MS, they shouldn't have released one.

        All of this has little to do with OS/2 since the tipping point occured during Windows 3.0/3.1 timeframe not
        • If WordPerfect Corporation (the company that owned WordPerfect at the time they started to lose their market share) really believed that they couldn't produce a non-buggy Windows version of WordPerfect due to insufficient info from MS, they shouldn't have released one.

          Oh, yeah, 'cause that would have seemed a really good business proposition... "let's not try to write a good wordprocessor for the systems out there, let's wait, what 14 years, and sue the people who won't let us have their APIs"

      • >>MS told them that OS/2 was the way to go...

        Microsoft never told anyone not to write for Windows; they made the phony argument that writing for Windows was the path to eventually writng for OS/2.

        But the phoniness of this argument is best displayed by pointing out that the only program worse than Word Perfect for Windows was Word Perfect for OS/2. It was a completely horrible program that was so slow that it couldn't even keep up with your typing. Even the worst screwball OS/2 zealots didn't try to [os2ezine.com]
      • I've only read up to page 30 of the complaint so far but it seems to claim that Microsoft witheld critical information from Novell on the new "Browsing" functionality it was including in Windows during the beta stages of the development of Windows 95.

        This seems odd as the "Browsing" features they claim relate to Internet Explorer, which was not included with Windows 95 until OSR2 and did not become a critical part of the system until Windows 98. What information could Novell have needed about Internet Expl
    • by Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @07:44PM (#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."
      • Well, I murdered him, but he had terminal cancer. I gave it to him, then told him he was doing fine until I was healthier than he. Then I only gave him *most* of the cure so he couldn't suddenly recuperate on me. I didn't *really* kill him. I mean, I was sick too, I needed the medicine for myself!
      • by Malfourmed (633699) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @09:23PM (#10809987) Homepage
        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."

        Maybe not for criminal prosecution. But if the victim only had six months to live, in a civil suit it would probably affect damages based on future earnings.
      • "But that doesn't make MS's anticompetitive behavior any less illegal"

        Well, if it's simple legality involved then its the goverment's responsiblity to sort out, not Novell's. The only relevant question to this case is whether MS performed illegal acts that directly resulted in a 40% drop in WordPerfect's market share.

        Reading Novell's filing it sounds like the integration of browsing in Windows was one of the main illegal acts. What this has to do with WordPefect, I don't know.

    • by natd (723818) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @07:45PM (#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.

      • by BrookHarty (9119) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @08:26PM (#10809712) Homepage Journal
        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.

        • The problem is that the very first version of WordPerfect for Windows was a mess on Windows 3.0/3.1. So what does that have to do with changes to the OS? It's not as if WordPerfect had been written for Windows 1.0 or Windows 386 and MS made secret changes for Windows 3.0.

          It was game over long before Windows 95 or even before Novell bought the WordPerfect.
    • by illumin8 (148082) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @08:04PM (#10809602) Journal
      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.
      • 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

      • 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
        • I can't believe you were modded flamebait for pointing out the blindingly obvious! Whatever side of the dispute one takes, illumin8's posting stunk to high heaven.

          You should have been modded "wasn't born yesterday".

        • "Grandparent: 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
          "

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

          What?? You mean you don't do all your coding for huge projects on a white board?
          Especially when white boards were barley ever used back then because everyone used blackboards and chalk?
      • Microsoft vs Enron (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chris Burke (6130)
        The reason Microsoft is not vilified while Enron is would be that Microsoft is still profitable and making their stockholders money. If Enron had been able to continue playing money games, keeping themselves alive and their stock price rising for another ten years, most of us still wouldn't have heard of them. If Microsoft should someday implode as a direct result of their shady practices, then you will see them vilified. Until then, they're simply being "punished for success".
      • 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.

        Whereas I worked for a company that signed an 8000 seat site license with WordPerfect for the very first version of WordPerfect for Windows (5.1 iirc - we definately had at least one and maybe two releases before the first really widespread one (5.2 again iirc)).

        I will grant you that Microsoft probably wasn't playing fair with the

    • 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 commi
    • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 13, 2004 @07:37PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 13, 2004 @07:42PM (#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
    • 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.

    • I personally used WordPerfect. It had a WONDERFUL styles management. I knew where a style began, and where it ended. Underline, italics, etc. It was perfectly marked on the screen. Wysiwyg wasn't a real need... that's what the preview button was for, after all.

      I'm sure Wordperfect would have excelled in exporting to HTML format.

      MS Word, on the other hand... well you know the story.

      I guess this was the REAL reason for MS to launch windows. Not to provide a Multitasking environment, but to provide an envir
  • by jedkiwi (825683) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @07:43PM (#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...
  • by yorkpaddy (830859) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @07:43PM (#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.

    • "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 b
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Oh, there's definitely enforcement techniques that can control them, the only trouble is that the government refuses to use them!
    • by k98sven (324383) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @09:05PM (#10809895) Journal
      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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 13, 2004 @07:45PM (#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.
    • 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.
    • 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

    • 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?
      • 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.
  • History (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OpenSourced (323149) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @07:50PM (#10809533) Journal
    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 (Score:2, Informative)

      by yorkpaddy (830859)
      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"
    • 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.

    • by fgb (62123)
      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.
    • There are two sides to every story, and apparently that one is Microsoft's.
    • Re:History (Score:3, Informative)

      by Deviate_X (578495)
      WordPerfect History [neowin.net]::

      November 2004

      1980s WordPerfect is the leading word processor software when most PCs ran character-based operating systems such as MS-DOS and DR DOS.

      1985 Microsoft introduced early versions of Windows® with a graphical user interface (GUI).

      WordPerfect for several reasons decided not to write a version of its product for Windows, and deliberately delaying writing software for Windows as way of trying to hurt Microsoft.

      "We didn't write for Windows" because" we were rooting for an
  • Word Sucks (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The Cisco Kid (31490) * on Saturday November 13, 2004 @07:55PM (#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 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mikael (484) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @08:10PM (#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 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mkoenecke (249261)
      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)
      • It may still well be good.. Unfortunately, I no longer use MS OS's, and no modern version of WP is available for Linux or FreeBSD. I pretty much avoid word processors altogether, preferring plain text for communication.

        For a good read, you might want to see
        http://www.ecn.wfu.edu/~cottrell/wp.html
    • To be fair to Corel, WordPerfect was orginally owned by WordPerfect corporation and then sold to Novell. Obviously there wasn't going to be a WordPerfect Corp with the WordPerfect product being sold by Novell. Clearly, the only reason WordPerfect Corp sold it to Novell was because they understood that it was going down hill. By the time Corel bought it at a bargin basement price, the final nail was in the coffin.
  • Old MS Motto: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gothmolly (148874)
    "It ain't done, until Lotus won't run."

    True then, probably true now.
  • by zap_branigan (691916) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @08:05PM (#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.
  • 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.
    • I read somewhere that ownership of the right to sue Microsoft was explicitly excluded when Novell sold WordPerfect to Corel.
    • 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.
    • The reasoning is that they paid a lot more for WP from the WP Corporation than they got when they later sold it to Corel.

      The argument is that MSFT is to blame for a lot of that loss in value
  • Just stupid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eihab (823648) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @08:10PM (#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!
  • Nice way to chew off one piece at a time.
  • Glad to see (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rqqrtnb (753156)
    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 13, 2004 @08:17PM (#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?
    • Just imagine what the benefit to the economy would be if that 50 billion (or even half of it) was distributed among a few thousand small businesses. Or what it could do to US literacy and competency levels if it was distributed to a few thousand schools. (In both cases, as *CASH* - not vouchers for discounts on overpriced MS products)

      I think having 50 billion in cash excluded from circulation by being hoarded by one company cant possibly have any *good* effect on the economy.
    • Bundling Office suites with PC's was not very common during the period in question so it is unlikely that it had much impact on WordPerfect's fortunes.

  • 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.
    • Wouldn't that be a trademark instead?
    • Typically, you want your brandname to be easy to remember, and certainly easy to pronounce - otherwise, it'll become more difficult for you to gain market penetration. If Joe Bloggs can't be sure how to pronounce a product he's pitching to his boss, the chances of said boss deciding to go with it over something easier to remember begin to drop.

  • by NHSheep (694556)
    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
    • by The Cisco Kid (31490) * on Saturday November 13, 2004 @09:12PM (#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?
    • These business practices, such as withholding information, are good ones.
      Those tactics are fine, until you become a monopoly. Then they (theoretically in Microsoft's case) become illegal.
  • weak (Score:2, Insightful)

    by js3 (319268)
    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 win
  • by Neoporcupine (551534) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @09:07PM (#10809910) Homepage
    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.

  • wp was very buggy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Several years ago we were using wp and upgraded to the next version (wp 6?) and it would crash often and have a nasty habit of trashing your original document file on a daily basis.

    So we moved to ms word, which didnt crash quite so often and didnt trash your document unless it was a full moon.

    If only open office existed then.

    At my current employer we use ms office and it doesnt crash, but does very weird things when formatting text, setting up templates is a nightmare and dde/ole gets to be REAL pain in
  • by Almost-Retired (637760) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @10:27PM (#10810277)
    Frankly, I've never ran either one.

    First off, there is not any great amount of M$ software at this location, windoze is not allowed on the premises.

    Second off, I have a copy of WordPerfect 8 here, sitting on the shelf, never been installed. Paid $75 for it with taxes and all.

    Why isn't it installed? Well, lets just say that in Corels infinite paranoia, they made gawd damned sure it would only run on one specific linux, theirs, of a certain release only and untouched by human hands for any updates etc.

    But they didn't say that on the box of course because that would have torpedoed what sales they had. When I found it wouldn't install on RedHat by straceing the installer, I took it back to the store,and was basicly told to go pound sand, the box has been opened so we cannot refund.

    Of course the fscking box was opened, how the hell else was I supposed to find out if it would install? Some sort of magic xray eyed genie to peek at the tracks on the cd and see if it would work? Mmm, well lets just say that those are in somewhat short supply around here, they are all out watching what J-Lo and Ben are up to next.

    As far as I'm concerned, Corel, now Novell, owes me 75 bucks. Or a working copy of WordPerfect 8.

    No Cheers this time, Gene

Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature. -- Rich Kulawiec

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