Less than a week after a collecting a $536 million settlement from Microsoft Corp., Novell Inc. on Friday filed another lawsuit accusing the software giant of violating antitrust laws.
The suit, which dovetails in part off the U.S. government’s antitrust case against Microsoft, claims the company used its market dominance in the mid-1990s to keep the WordPerfect word processing program and Quattro Pro spreadsheet application from gaining wider commercial acceptance. (MSNBC is a Microsoft-NBC joint venture.)
“We intend to pursue aggressively a goal of recovering fair value for the harm caused to Novell’s business by Microsoft’s anticompetitive actions,” said Joseph A. LaSala, Jr., Novell’s senior vice president and general counsel, in a written statement.
The lawsuit alleges that Microsoft withheld technical information about Windows to prevent rival Novell from updating its software, made its own operating system inhospitable to WordPerfect and other Novell programs and leveraged its own ubiquity to prevent Novell from offering its programs to customers.
In a statement, Microsoft argued that trade secret provisions allow it to withhold technical specifications to protect itself, and said Novell is trying to blame others for its own bad business decisions.
On Monday, Microsoft announced it would pay Novell to pull out of a European Union lawsuit accusing the company of abusing its industry dominance. Novell said despite the huge payoff it intended to file an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft later in the week.
Microsoft previously spent $2.4 billion settling antitrust and other claims by AOL Time Warner Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc., both significant supporters of the European case. But even billions in payments won’t put more than a dent in Microsoft’s staggering cash reserves of about $64.4 billion.
The suit was filed in federal court in Salt Lake City. Novell, which moved its headquarters to Massachusetts earlier this year, still has substantial operations in Provo, Utah.