Court Ruling Brings Renewed Chance for Novell-Microsoft Settlement

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2008-03-17 Print this article Print

The Supreme Court's decision might make Microsoft more willing to negotiate a settlement, a source tells eWEEK.

SALT LAKE CITY-Novell has welcomed the decision by the Supreme Court March 17 that allows its antitrust suit against Microsoft to move forward.  

That decision follows a ruling by the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., that Novell can continue with its multibillion-dollar antitrust lawsuit, which deals with the damage the company alleges Microsoft did to its onetime WordPerfect line of office applications.

In an interview with eWEEK at its BrainShare conference here March 17, Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian acknowledged that Novell and Microsoft had not been able to reach an agreement over the WordPerfect matter when they negotiated their technical co-operation and patent agreement in 2006.  

 "In the spirit of open conversation and in the spirit of looking at the different things we could solve between the two companies, this came up in that normal course, and it was one of those things that we agreed to put on the shelf. We just disagreed. It will happen again, but I'm impressed at the way we both handled it and the professionalism involved," he said.  

Novell felt very good about its position with regard to the case, Hovsepian said, but Microsoft also did, which "is unfortunately why we ended up having to use the legal process."  

But a source close to the case said the Supreme Court's decision may make Microsoft more willing to negotiate a settlement, particularly in the light of the ongoing antitrust against it by the European Union.  


Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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