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Businessweek Archives

Novell, Microsoft, And The Ftc

Information Processing



NOVEMBER IBM and Microsoft agree to divvy up the market for operating systems.

Microsoft approaches Novell about a merger. The Federal Trade Commission

begins to look for collusion in IBM-Microsoft accord. Justice refuses to give

clearance for full FTC probe.

DECEMBER Microsoft CEO Bill Gates enters into serious discussions to acquire

Novell for roughly $2 billion.


JANUARY The Novell-Microsoft merger talks fall apart.

MAY Justice approves informal FTC probe.

JUNE Microsoft is informed that it's the target of a probe.

NOVEMBER The FTC staff asks commissioners to authorize a formal investigation.

The commissioners sit on the request for months.


MARCH Microsoft announces that it's the target of an FTC investigation.

APRIL FTC investigators begin looking at how Microsoft's power in operating

systems helps its applications business.

JULY Novell announces plan to buy Digital Research, maker of DR DOS, a clone of

Microsoft's MS-DOS operating system. Gates restarts merger talks with Novell.

DECEMBER The FTC learns about the Novell merger talks for the first time.


MARCH The Novell-Microsoft merger talks collapse again. Noorda becomes more

cooperative with the FTC.

DECEMBER The FTC's Bureau of Competition issues report recommending federal

injunction against Microsoft or an administrative action.


FEBRUARY Gates visits the commission in hopes of getting the FTC to back off.

The commission deadlocks.

EARLY TO MIDYEAR Case is pared down and focused.

JUNE Two senators, one from Novell's home state of Utah, urge that the case go

to Justice, where new antitrust chief expresses interest.

JULY Gates visits the commission again. Once again, the FTC deadlocks.

AUGUST The FTC closes the matter and hands over its files to Justice, which is

now reviewing the case.

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