Burst, Microsoft reach tentative settlement in antitrust case

Details of the settlement are confidential for now

Video player software vendor Burst.com Inc. has reached a tentative settlement with Microsoft Corp. over its antitrust and patent-infringement claims, the companies announced.

Details of the settlement are confidential until the agreement is completed, said Stacy Drake, a Microsoft spokeswoman. Burst.com, based in Santa Rosa, Calif., expects the settlement to be finalized within five business days, the company said in a statement yesterday.

The Burst.com case was among the first round of antitrust lawsuits filed by Microsoft competitors following settlement of the U.S. government's antitrust case against the company in November 2001.

Burst.com filed its lawsuit against Microsoft in June 2002, alleging that Microsoft stole patented technology and trade secrets concerning Internet-based video-on-demand for its Windows Media Player product. Microsoft learned about Burst.com's technology in two years of meetings and discussions, although it signed a nondisclosure agreement with Burst prior to those meetings, Burst.com alleged.

Microsoft had denied those claims.

Microsoft has settled several other antitrust lawsuits against it, but the company still faces legal action from Novell Inc. and RealNetworks Inc., as well as several class-action claims.

Novell in November filed an antitrust lawsuit accusing Microsoft of unfairly eliminating competition for office productivity applications during the time Novell owned the WordPerfect word processing application and the Quattro Pro spreadsheet application. Earlier that month, Microsoft agreed to pay Novell $536 million for antitrust claims relating to Novell's NetWare product.

In December 2003, RealNetworks filed a lawsuit claiming that Microsoft illegally used its power as a monopoly to control the digital media market.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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