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As sides close, Novell attorney attacks Bill Gates' testimony

Published December 15, 2011 7:24 am

Antitrust suit • At closing arguments, Microsoft lawyer counters that the Utah company self-destructed.
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An attorney for Novell said Tuesday that Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates' testimony in a Salt City trial didn't square with the evidence in the case in which the Utah company is seeking about $1 billion from the software giant.

Attorney Jeffrey Johnson made the remarks during closing arguments of a two-month trial over whether a decision by Gates to exclude a small feature from Windows 95 was made in order to harm Utah-based Novell after it purchased WordPerfect and vowed to compete broadly with Microsoft, the world's most successful software company.

"Mr. Gates testimony won't withstand even casual scrutiny," Johnson said in trying to convince the jury that Gates' 1994 decision was an attempt to stall Novell from bringing out new versions of WordPerfect and the spreadsheet Quattro Pro in order to give its own competing Office suite a jump start in operating on Windows 95.

But David Tulchin, Microsoft's lead trial attorney, said Novell was to blame for the steep decline in market share that WordPerfect suffered after the launch of Windows 95. Novell made a poor decision to buy WordPerfect and Quattro Pro and then was slow to make them compatible with the hugely successful Windows 95.

"Novell simply made a bad choice," Tulchin told the jury.

U.S. District Court Judge J. Frederick Motz said jurors would return Wednesday morning for instructions, then would begin deliberations.


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