All twelve jurors thought that Microsoft was guilty of “anti competitive behavior”, and eleven jurors were convinced that Novell had been harmed by Microsoft’s anti competitive behavior. However, because of one juror who had doubts as to whether Novell was actually damaged by it, the case was declared a mistrial.
If Novell wants to keep its lawyers’ meters running, they can ask for a new trial, with a whole new jury. Of course, there’s nothing to stop the two parties from trying to reach a settlement on their own. Groklaw.com, which has been providing excellent coverage and analysis of the trial, predicts that Novell and Microsoft will at least make an attempt to settle the case out of court.
Here’s what Groklaw had to say about it.
And that is what I expect (referring to a settlement) is most likely, actually, since Microsoft didn’t get the breezy win it seemed to expect even with a judge who seemed to rule for them whenever he could. However, Novell has other options, which it will no doubt consider after it has the opportunity to speak to the jurors. You’ll see headlines all over the place that the judge “dismissed” the case against Microsoft, but that isn’t accurate information. He dismissed this jury, ending this version of the case. It’s a mistrial. Normally, absent a settlement, there will be a retrial with a new jury. Nobody won, and nobody lost. So it starts over. And considering each side has spent millions already, settlements do sometimes follow hung juries.
KSL TV interviewed Corbyn Alvey, “the holdout juror”. He was reluctant to call the world’s second richest person a liar, but on the other hand, if you listen to Alvey’s testimony, it’s clear that he (and the other eleven jurors) did not believe Gates’ testimony. As he put it, ever so politely, “it seemed like there was a disconnect, there wasn’t a matchup.” Alvey suggested that “it’s been 17 years, he could have forgotten.” Said Alvey, “his testimony wasn’t matching up with emails he had written in 93, 94, and 95.”
Novell was seeking damages from Microsoft in excess of $1 billion.