SALT LAKE CITY — Jurors in the billion-dollar Novell-Microsoft antitrust case are apparently wrestling with a number of questions, including what a "hung jury" means.
The seven-woman, five-man jury was expected to continue deliberations Friday. Jurors have asked the court for several clarifications since receiving the case Wednesday morning. Twice it asked about the term hung jury, possibly signaling that might be on their minds as they weigh two months of complex testimony and hundreds of documents.
Attorneys for both sides wrapped up their cases Tuesday with closing arguments in U.S. District Court.
Novell alleges Microsoft violated antitrust laws during the development of Windows 95, putting the Provo-based company's newly acquired WordPerfect word processing software at a competitive disadvantage and allowing Microsoft to gain a monopoly in the computer operating systems market.
Microsoft contends Novell bought a dying company in WordPerfect and was slow to recognize the emergence of Windows. It argued that delays in development of Novell's spread sheet application slowed the release of its software for Windows 95.
Novell seeks as much as $1.3 billion in compensation. Microsoft says the Provo-based company deserves nothing.
Novell contends Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates purposefully removed a key piece of computer code — application program interfaces called name space extensions — from a beta version of Windows 95 that Novell intended as an integral part of its word processing software for Windows. Name space extensions contain information about how items are displayed in Windows.
U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz gave the jury a verdict form containing seven questions it was to answer in deciding the case. Jurors wanted to know the difference between two similarly worded questions.
One asks whether Novell proved that Microsoft's withdrawal of support for the name space extensions "caused harm" to competition in the market for PC operating systems and "contributed significantly" to Microsoft's monopoly in that market.
The other asks whether Novell proved that Microsoft's withdrawal of support for the name space extensions was "reasonably capable of contributing significantly" to Microsoft's monopoly in PC operating systems market.
Jurors also had a question about the definition of a computer term.
Besides about 126 hours of testimony from 14 witnesses, the jury received 626 exhibits — mostly internal memos, emails and documents — from Novell and Microsoft in the case that started Oct. 17.