Anyone remember WordPerfect? Lawyers loved this program because it allowed greater control over the building blocks of a word processed document, without all the automatic coding and formatting that makes Microsoft Word feel so rigid and inflexible. We never heard much about WordPerfect after 1995 because, when Windows 95 was launched, it didn’t support the competing program.
Now Novell Inc., the maker of WordPerfect, is in trial in Salt Lake City against Microsoft Corp., alleging that the failure of the operating system to support WordPerfect violated antitrust laws.
From press accounts, Novell doesn’t sound like it’s making much headway. Bill Gates testified last week that during development of Windows 95, Microsoft had to dump a technical feature that would have supported WordPerfect because he feared it would crash the operating system.
This article also appeared in Executive Brief (April 2012).