Microsoft Legal Breaks Into Song: 'Another One Bites the Dust'
It’s taken the better part of a decade, but Microsoft has finally managed to settle the patent-violation case brought against it by Eolas Technologies. First filed in 1999, the lawsuit claimed Microsoft’s Internet Explorer wrongfully used Eolas’s technology for running external applications in the browser. Eolas won $520.6 million in damages from Microsoft in 2003, but Redmond appealed, questioning the patent’s validity.
At the time, it seemed the company had no intentions of settling, saying it would rather ship an altered version of Internet Explorer 6 that sidestepped the company’s patent. “We believe we have substantial grounds for reconsideration by the judge,” said Michael Wallent, a general manager in Microsoft’s Windows division. ” … [T]he idea that we would pay more than $630 million ($520.6 million in damages plus $111 million in interest) to get rid of a single mouse click on a small fraction of Web pages is not something that we’re entertaining.”
But after a few more years of pitched battle, Microsoft has apparently softened that stance a bit. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that the two companies have finally resolved their differences. According to a letter to Eolas shareholders from COO Mark Swords, the companies settled the case last Friday.
Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed. That said, enough money seems to have changed hands to warrant a dividend of between $60 and $72 per share to shareholders.