Microsoft retracts anti-Novell advertising mailer

Microsoft Corp. has agreed to stop sending out statements criticizing Novell Inc. and NetWare 6 that form the basis of Novell's false advertising lawsuit against Microsoft filed on Oct. 1, Novell said.

Microsoft will also send a retraction letter to 3,000 Novell customers who received its promotional mailer in August. The text of the letter will be chosen by Novell. An earlier effort by Microsoft to apologize for the mailer wasn't sufficient, Novell said in a statement yesterday.

Novell will pursue the lawsuit and seek damages from Microsoft for its "Server Crunch" advertising material, which Novell says contains "false and misleading" statements about Novell and its NetWare 6 product (see story).

Microsoft's retraction letter will now include the text: "Contrary to the statements made about Novell on the package by Microsoft, Novell has advised Microsoft that it is growing and expanding its software business, while adding significant resources to its existing consulting services business.

"Accordingly, Microsoft retracts its statements that Novell will not fully support NetWare, that NetWare has an 'expiration date' or that it is or will become 'obsolete,' and that NetWare will become costly and time-consuming to maintain."

In its statement, Novell said that it was pleased with Microsoft's retraction but added that the retraction doesn't adequately redress the harm done to Novell, so the lawsuit will go ahead. Novell said it is anxious to move to the next phase of the litigation where discovery will begin, and it will put together its case for damages.

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