Microsoft Will Pay Bristol Technology To Settle Suit - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Microsoft Will Pay Bristol Technology To Settle Suit

Microsoft agreed to pay Bristol Technology Inc. an undisclosed sum Wednesday to settle a lawsuit over unfair trade practices. It's the latest settlement Microsoft has reached to clear legal issues off its docket.

Bristol, based in Danbury, Conn., brought its case against Microsoft in August 1998, claiming Microsoft had violated antitrust and fair-trade laws through its licensing terms for Windows NT. Bristol's flagship product is Wind/U, software for porting Windows apps to Unix. When Microsoft was trying to gain market share with Windows NT, Wind/U let developers write to the new system with confidence they could move those apps to Unix servers. Bristol said Microsoft raised licensing fees for the Windows source code when its position became stronger.

Bristol lost the antitrust portion of the trial in July 1999, but nominally won its claim that Microsoft violated Connecticut's unfair-business laws. In September, a U.S. District Court judge ordered Microsoft to pay Bristol $1 million in punitive damages and in November ordered the vendor to pay Bristol $3.7 million in legal fees. Microsoft had planned to appeal the judgment before Wednesday's settlement.

"We've always believed that if there's a reasonable solution to an issue, rather than litigation, we'd always agree to do that," says a Microsoft spokesman. Last month, Microsoft agreed to pay Sun Microsystems $20 million to settle a legal dispute over licensing of the Java programming language. In December, Microsoft settled a lawsuit brought by temporary workers for the company.

Terms of the Bristol settlement dismiss all previous damage payment orders issued by the courts, Microsoft's spokesman says. Microsoft won't, however, settle suits on "unreasonable terms," he adds--the company is winning dismissals of some class-action suits that stemmed from the landmark antitrust case brought by the U.S. government.

Bristol said it's pleased with the settlement. "We just want to move on with our business," says a spokeswoman. "It was the right thing, we've proved our point, and we're better as a result of it." In an interview last fall, Bristol CEO Keith Blackwell said independent software vendors can "never win" against Microsoft in the market, because the company is a competitor and "they make the rules." "Microsoft's the referee as well for the platform," he added. Privately held Bristol was on track to net just under $10 million in revenue last year.

Shares of Microsoft (MSFT-Nasdaq) were up $1.375, to $57.25, in early-afternoon trading.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
This new report from InformationWeek explores what we've learned over the past year, critical trends around ITOps and SecOps, and where leaders are focusing their time and efforts to support a growing digital economy. Download it today!
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Remote Work Tops SF, NYC for Most High-Paying Job Openings
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  7/20/2021
Blockchain Gets Real Across Industries
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  7/22/2021
Seeking a Competitive Edge vs. Chasing Savings in the Cloud
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  7/19/2021
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Monitoring Critical Cloud Workloads Report
In this report, our experts will discuss how to advance your ability to monitor critical workloads as they move about the various cloud platforms in your company.
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll