U.S. top court declines to hear Microsoft antitrust case

WASHINGTON Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:02pm IST

The Microsoft logo is seen at their offices in Bucharest March 20, 2013. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel/Files

The Microsoft logo is seen at their offices in Bucharest March 20, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Bogdan Cristel/Files

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday brought an end to Novell Inc's antitrust claims against Microsoft Corp that date back 20 years to the development of Windows 95 software.

By declining to hear Novell’s appeal, the court left intact a 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from September 2013 in favour of Microsoft.

The court of appeals unanimously affirmed the dismissal of Novell Inc's claims that Microsoft violated the Sherman Antitrust Act when it decided not to share its intellectual property while developing its Windows 95 operating system.

Novell was seeking more than $3 billion.

Since the 1990s, Microsoft has been pursued by government prosecutors, consumers and competitors for alleged antitrust violations when it was widely considered a mighty monopolist.

The Novell case, which was first filed in 2004, was over Microsoft's decision not to share with Novell details about its Windows operating system. Novell claimed that its suite of applications, including WordPerfect, suffered as a result of Microsoft withholding the information.

Novell alleged that Microsoft used its market power in operating systems to promote its own applications.

In a 2011 trial, a jury could not come to a verdict, but afterward U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz in Baltimore, who oversaw consolidated proceedings against Microsoft, ruled in favour of the software giant.

Novell appealed Motz's ruling to the 10th Circuit but the court affirmed Motz's ruling, finding that Microsoft was under no obligation to share sensitive information with a competitor.

The case is Novell v. Microsoft, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 13-1042.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Andrew Longstreth; Editing by Howard Goller and Alden Bentley)

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