Four counts in Novell Inc.'s lawsuit against Microsoft Corp have been dismissed. A federal judge has claimed that the software giant did not have a monopoly in the word processing and spreadsheet software markets that could have given it an unfair advantage over rivals. However, Judge Frederick Motz of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland has kept two other counts which claim that Microsoft used its Windows operating system monopoly to hurt sales of WordPerfect and Quattro Pro. Novell briefly owned these products about 10 years ago.

Microsoft claims that WordPerfect's popularity in the market had already started to decline before it was bought by Novell and that the statue of limitations had already expired over Novell's claims regarding WordPerfect.

Motz said, however, that Novell could still seek damages even though it no longer owns and operates WordPerfect. WordPerfect is currently owned and developed by Corel Corp., another long-time Microsoft rival.

Novell contends that WordPerfect and Quattro Pro had a combined value of $1 billion when it owned those products, but that it ended up selling those business to Corel in 1996 for $170 million.