Microsoft and Alcatel bury the hatchet

Microsoft and Alcatel-Lucent appear to have settled a patent dispute, which might mean that Steve Ballmer will not have to write a cheque for $70 million.

A jury awarded Alcatel-Lucent $70 million after Microsoft was found to have stolen a Day patent in its Outlook software.

The technology allowed someone to add an appointment to a calendar by clicking on a calendar date and entering information in the field with the relevant date. The patent was initially awarded to a division of AT&T that was spun off as Lucent and was ultimately acquired by Alcatel.

The jury awarded Lucent $70 million but that was knocked down to $26.3 million on appeal.

It was likely that the case could run and run. Lucent could oppose the appeal settlement and get the final figure bumped up to $70 million again so it appears both sides have come to an arrangement.

The companies did not reveal details of the deal, but Microsoft said the settlement is “to the satisfaction of both parties.”