Lone juror forced retrial in Novell Microsoft antitrust case

A lone juror who prevented Novell winning shedloads of dosh in a long running anti-trust case against Microsoft is content that he made the right decision.

With the rest of the jury against him, Corbyn Alvey, a 21-year-old security guard from Magna, stuck to his guns and refused to say Microsoft did it.

He told KSL-TV that he did not believe that there was enough evidence presented during the two-month trial in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City to support Novell’s claims.

The case has now had to go to a re-trial which is jolly annoying for both Novell and Microsoft. Novell sued Microsoft in 2004, claiming the software giant duped it into developing the once-popular WordPerfect writing program for Windows 95 only to pull the plug so Microsoft could gain market share with its own product. Novell says it was later forced to sell WordPerfect for a $1.2 billion loss.

Alvey said that he was walking away from the two month case feeling that he made the right decision even if it resulted in a hung jury.

He said that it would have been “unfair” to Redmond if he played guesswork with the case and said ‘yes’ – there was just too much to it.

All the other 11 other jurors sided with Novell and wanted a pound of flesh from Vole.

This was despite Bill Gates showing up to testify that he had no idea his decision to drop a tool for outside developers would sidetrack Novell. Gates said he was acting to protect Windows 95 and future versions from crashing.

Novell claimed that Gates ordered Microsoft engineers to reject WordPerfect as a Windows 95 word processing application because he feared it was too good.

Alvey said that while the jury agreed on the technical aspects of the case they could not agree about what Novell could do if Gates’ had not made his decision.

Alvey thought Gates was a bit sarky, which actually was entertaining because it provided a little break from the monotonous questions and answers. But it showed that Gates was a man who took every threat seriously.

Novell attorneys have said they would seek to retry the case with a new jury. Microsoft said it would file a motion asking the judge to dismiss Novell’s complaint for good and avoid a second trial. The latter is unlikely.

It is more likely that this case will run and run. Novell’s team will have learnt what to say and Microsoft’s will know what to avoid. According to Taiwan News, it looks like Gates will get another day in court.