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Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates testified that Novell just couldn't deliver a Windows 95-compatible WordPerfect program in time. Above, Gates last week. (Anthony Bolante, Reuters / November 15, 2011)

Microsoft’s Windows 95 rollout presented the most challenges in the company’s history, leading to several last-minute changes to technical features that would no longer support a rival software maker’s word processor, Bill Gates testified Monday in a $1-billion antitrust lawsuit filed by the former owner of WordPerfect.

“We worked super hard,” the Microsoft co-founder said. “It was the most challenging, trying project we had ever done.”

Gates was the first witness to testify Monday as Microsoft lawyers presented their case in the trial that’s been ongoing in federal court in Salt Lake City for about a month. He is set to resume testimony Tuesday morning.

Utah-based Novell Inc. sued Microsoft in 2004, claiming the Redmond, Wash., company violated U.S. antitrust laws through its arrangements with other software makers when it launched Windows 95. Novell says it was later forced to sell WordPerfect at a $1.2-billion loss. Novell is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Attachmate Group, the result of a merger that was completed this year.

Gates said that Novell just couldn’t deliver a Windows 95-compatible WordPerfect program in time for its rollout, and that Microsoft’s Word program was actually better. He said that by 1994, Microsoft’s Word program was ranked No. 1 in the market above WordPerfect.

read more at LA Times

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