Don’t forget how close Microsoft came to losing Novell lawsuit

Supreme Court declines to hear Novell’s appeal

How close? Hung-jury close. No, make that single-juror, hung-jury close ... and even that single juror didn't see Microsoft as blameless.

juror

That fact doesn't seem to be getting much if any attention in the wake of yesterday's announcement by the Supreme Court of the United States that it will not weigh in on an antitrust lawsuit brought a decade ago by Novell against Microsoft. That lawsuit, which sought more than a billion dollars in damages, resulted in a hung jury when heard in December 2011.

From a Dec. 20, 2011 Buzzblog post:

A fuller picture is emerging of exactly how close Microsoft came on Friday to losing its interminable antitrust tussle with Novell, a defeat that could have cost the company up to $1.3 billion.

Not only was there a hung jury, but the hang-up was with a lone juror, and - perhaps most remarkable of all - that lone juror's stand was over a single point of contention.

That single point of contention for holdout juror Corbyn Alvey did not involve whether Microsoft behaved in an anticompetitive manner or not - even Alvey believed that the company did so. (He also said he had a hard time reconciling the testimony of Bill Gates with email records.) Where Alvey, then 21, differed from the other jurors was that he did not believe Microsoft's actions harmed Novell.  

 Alvey told a Utah television station at the time:  "It was stressful having 11 people come down on me saying it would be my fault if we had a hung jury."

Now he gets to go through the rest of his life knowing that he may well have saved Microsoft a billion dollars.

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