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IT-Director: Microsoft in more trouble

“The 1998 trial jury dismissed many of the complaints brought by
Bristol Technologies against Microsoft but found that Bristol had
suffered an ascertainable loss to its business from Microsoft’s
“deceptive act or practice”. However, the jury was not happy with
Bristol’s attempts to quantify its losses and warded only nominal
damages of $1. It was this award that Bristol Technologies appealed
against and, on Friday, Bristol won its appeal to the tune of $1
million punitive damages.”

“Moreover, Judge Janet Hall added quite a few harsh words in
delivering her verdict. To the word “deceptive” used to describe
Microsoft’s “act or practice” in the first trial, she added “wanton
and reckless”. This was based on her opinion that Microsoft
Executives had not testified truthfully in the earlier trial,
backed by discovery of an internal Microsoft email emanating from
none other than Bill Gates. Gates allegedly used harsh language to
describe the probable effect of Microsoft’s conduct on Bristol
Technologies.”

“Before the verdict of the Anti-Trust action was known,
commentators were predicting that if it went against Microsoft it
could open the floodgates to a raft of law suits against the
company. That said, Microsoft still has more money to fight legal
actions than its competitors and Americans have traditionally
been more accepting of marginal business tactics by its commercial
giants than many other nations. The assertion that we shouldn’t be
afraid of size and success is better appreciated in the USA than
elsewhere.”

Complete
Story