June 30, 2006 12:34 PM PDT

Microsoft: Go antitrust suit dismissed

A federal judge has thrown out an antitrust suit brought against Microsoft by the founder of the now-defunct pen-computing company Go Computing, the software giant said Friday.

In an opinion filed Thursday, Maryland District Court Judge J. Frederick Motz granted Microsoft's motion to dismiss Go founder S. Jerrold Kaplan's suit, which was filed in June 2005. Motz did allow Kaplan the option of filing a new suit based on any damages that may have occurred within four years prior to the filing of such a suit.

In a statement, Microsoft deputy general counsel Tom Burt praised the court's decision, noting that Kaplan's claims date back nearly 20 years.

"This case should never have been brought against Microsoft, and we're pleased it has been dismissed by the court at this early stage," Burt said.

Kaplan's suit claimed that Microsoft violated antitrust laws by trying to thwart Go's attempt to enter the PC operating system market. The lawsuit also claimed that Microsoft stole Go technology, that the software giant threatened Intel (the chipmaker had invested in Go) and that it used "incentives and threats" to coerce Compaq Computer, Fujitsu, Toshiba and other computer makers not to use Go's operating system.

A California state claim by Go remains, though Microsoft said Friday it plans to file a similar motion for dismissal in that case sometime in the near future.

Microsoft, which has settled antitrust complaints with a host of competitors, said the Go matter is one of only two competitor class-action cases still pending. The other case is with Novell regarding claims related to WordPerfect.

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