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In the News

- Novell Files Another Microsoft Antitrust Suit ... Over WordPerfect
- Sun to Announce Open-Source Solaris 10
- Tech Site Reveals MSN Desktop Search Plans

==== In the News ====

by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@windowsitpro.com

Novell Files Another Microsoft Antitrust Suit ... Over WordPerfect

On Friday, computing giant Novell announced that it's filing an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft alleging that the company illegally sought to "eliminate competition" in the office productivity market. The suit arises from Novell's brief mid-1990s ownership of WordPerfect, a company that made word processing and other office productivity tools that compete with Microsoft Office. Today, Corel owns WordPerfect.
"Novell asserts that Microsoft withheld certain critical technical information about Windows from Novell, thereby impairing Novell's ability to develop new versions of WordPerfect and other Novell office productivity applications," a Novell statement said. "The complaint also alleges that Microsoft integrated certain technologies into Windows designed to exclude WordPerfect and other Novell applications from relevant markets. In addition, Novell asserts that Microsoft used its monopoly power to prevent hardware partners from offering WordPerfect and other applications to customers." Novell is seeking unspecified damages from Microsoft.
The lawsuit's timing is a bit odd. Novell purchased WordPerfect in 1994 and, separately, the Quattro Pro spreadsheet from Borland Software and turned the products into an integrated suite that could more effectively compete with Office. Novell's cost for the two products exceeded $1 billion. However, WordPerfect fared poorly under Novell, and the company sold the suite to Corel less than 2 years later for just $170 million, a fire sale that raised eyebrows around the computing world. During that time, WordPerfect's share of the word processing market fell to less than 10 percent (in 1990, WordPerfect commanded almost 50 percent of the market). Today, Microsoft controls more than 90 percent of the office productivity market, which includes word processing. Late Friday, Microsoft expressed outrage at the suit, which dates back to events almost a decade old. "Through this lawsuit, Novell seeks to blame Microsoft for its own mismanagement and poor business decisions," the company wrote in a statement. "The record is clear that bad decisions and business mistakes are the reasons WordPerfect fell out of favor with consumers. It's also unfortunate, and surprising, that Novell has just now chosen to litigate over a business it owned for a very short time and that it sold more than 8 years ago."

Sun to Announce Open-Source Solaris 10

Today, Sun Microsystems will announce its plans for Solaris 10, the most recent version of the company's flagship UNIX-based OS. Unlike earlier releases, however, Solaris 10 will include a major new feature that's sure to cause tremors in open-source circles. Sun will issue at least one version of Solaris 10 to customers for free under an open-source license, similar to the way the UNIX-like Linux OS is distributed. Sun hopes that by rethinking its Solaris licensing strategy, the company can rekindle sales in related products and services and gain back some market share it lost to Linux in recent years.
Sun is expected to provide a free, no-support version of Solaris to individuals, schools, and corporations. Customers who want to pay for support will likely incur costs of $120 to $360 a year, Sun Executive Vice President of Software John P. Loiacono said. Or customers can purchase a version of Solaris that includes the Sun Java Desktop System, which includes the StarOffice 7 Office Suite, for $100. "From a pricing perspective, Solaris will be less expensive in any category than our Linux competitors," Loiacono told "The New York Times."
Compared with Linux, Solaris is more scalable, performs better on high-end software, and is far more mature, with software roots that date back to the beginning of UNIX. Sun says that versions of Solaris 10 will run on AMD Opteron, Intel x86, Sun SPARC, and Xeon platforms, and software written for the system will run without modification on all supported hardware platforms. In addition, the system will eventually support Linux applications via a future add-on called Project Janus. Solaris 10 will ship to customers in January, according to Sun.

Tech Site Reveals MSN Desktop Search Plans

Technology news site Neowin.net revealed MSN's desktop search plans this weekend, reporting that Microsoft is using technology acquired from its purchase of Lookout Software earlier this year. Dubbed the MSN Toolbar Suite, the beta software provides an MSN Toolbar for Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), Microsoft Office Outlook, and Windows Explorer, and a new tool called the MSN Deskbar, which appears to sit in the Windows taskbar.
"Perhaps the most important thing in the Toolbar Suite package is the installation of the separate MSN Desktop Search," Neowin.net's Tom Warren noted in a post on the site. "The results gained from simply searching for files are amazing. Searching is speedy, and you can even search for the author of certain files. The same technology is applied to the Outlook search. The MSN Toolbar integrates directly into Outlook, allowing you to replace the standard search tool. Search results for Outlook are impressive, too. Clicking directly on an email \[message\] that you've searched for launches the \[message\] within seconds."
Just last week, Microsoft revealed a new beta version of its Web-based MSN Search tool, which competes with market-leader Google and will be finalized sometime next year. The company's desktop-based search tools appear to offer both local and remote searching through various points in the UI. Neowin.net notes that the MSN Toolbar Suite will debut in December. For more information and a nice collection of screenshots, see the Neowin.net Web site.
http://www.neowin.net/comments.php?id=25605&category=main

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