Washington: A US court has dismissed a billion-dollar anti-trust lawsuit against computer giant Microsoft after a jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict.
According to the Daily Express, Novell, a multinational software and services company, had claimed that Microsoft duped it into developing the once-popular WordPerfect writing programme 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 dollars loss.
The trial has been unfolding in Salt Lake City for two months.
Jurors got the case on Wednesday morning, but by Friday told the judge they were “hopelessly deadlocked”.
Microsoft lawyers argued that Novell’s loss of market share was its own doing because the company did not develop a compatible WordPerfect programme until long after the roll-out of Windows 95.
WordPerfect once had nearly 50 percent of the market for word processing, but its share quickly plummeted to less than 10 percent as Microsoft’s own Office programmes took hold.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates had testified last month that he had no idea his decision to drop a tool for outside developers would sidetrack Novell.
Microsoft said it would file a motion asking the judge to dismiss Novell’s complaint for good and avoid a second trial.