Microsoft Settles With Burst.com

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Microsoft will pay video-player software vendor Burst.com $60 million to settle Burst.com's antitrust and patent-infringement claims.

The settlement will give Microsoft a nonexclusive right to Burst's media player software, according to a Burst press release from late last week.

Burst.com, based in Santa Rosa, California, will use the settlement money to pay off long-term debts, enforce patent claims against other companies, and to pay shareholders, according to the press release.

The Burst.com case was among the first round of antitrust lawsuits filed by Microsoft competitors following settlement of the U.S. government's antitrust case against the company in November 2001.

Video Technology

Burst.com filed its lawsuit against Microsoft in June 2002, alleging that Microsoft stole patented technology and trade secrets concerning Internet-based video on demand for its Windows Media Player product. Microsoft learned about Burst.com's technology in two years of meetings and discussions, although it signed a nondisclosure agreement with Burst.com prior to those meetings, Burst.com alleged. Microsoft denied those claims.

Microsoft has settled several other antitrust lawsuits against it, but the company still faces lawsuits from Novell and RealNetworks, as well as several class-action claims.

Novell in November filed an antitrust lawsuit accusing Microsoft of unfairly eliminating competition for office productivity applications during the time Novell owned the WordPerfect word processing application and the Quattro Pro spreadsheet application. Earlier that month, Microsoft agreed to pay Novell $536 million for antitrust claims relating to Novell's NetWare product.

In December 2003, RealNetworks filed a lawsuit claiming that Microsoft illegally used its power as a monopoly to control the digital media market.

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