Microsoft and Bristol settle litigation

Microsoft and Bristol Technology have settled an antitrust lawsuit that alleged Microsoft's predatory manipulation of the APIs for Windows.

          Microsoft and Bristol Technology on Wednesday announced that they have reached a settlement in an antitrust lawsuit that alleged the Redmond, Washington-based software maker injured Bristol through predatory manipulation of the access to programming interfaces for the Windows operating system..

          The terms of the settlement were not released, the companies said in a joint statement. Software maker Bristol had already been rewarded $US.7 million in legal fees and $1 million in punitive damages during the past months based on rulings by Federal District Judge Janet C. Hall. The legal fees and other damages were included as part of the settlement, the companies said. The claims of both parties were "dismissed with prejudice," meaning the case is over.

          Bristol sells cross-platform development products that allow Windows applications to run on other operating systems. Its key product WIND/U lets companies port applications from Windows to Unix.

          Litigation began in August 1998 when Danbury, Connecticut-based Bristol filed suit against Microsoft. Bristol alleged that Microsoft manipulated access to Windows programming interfaces to discourage the use of the Unix operating system. And during the civil trial in 1999, Bristol contended the expiration of its licensing contract of Windows NT source code drastically reduced its sales in September 1997.

          Bristol has contended that Microsoft let the contract lapse to discourage use of the Unix operating system, which rivals Microsoft's Windows NT. The trial ended with a jury finding in favor of Microsoft on all antitrust claims and in favor of Bristol on one claim under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

          The court ultimately awarded $4.7 million to Bristol in legal fees and punitive damages. As recent as November 2000, Bristol's Chief Executive Officer Keith Blackwell said his company planned to enter a court motion for the jury's ruling on antitrust claims to be thrown out and to request a new trial.

          Bristol Technology, in Danbury, Connecticut, can be reached at http://www.bristol.com/. Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at http://www.microsoft/.

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