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Score another one for Microsoft in its court battle with Alcatel-Lucent: a judge yesterday dismissed several of Alcatel-Lucent's claims that Microsoft and co-defendants Gateway and Dell infringed its user interface technology patent. The decision strikes down Alcatel-Lucent's claim that Gateway and Dell computers, using Microsoft programs Outlook and Quicken, made inappropriate use of its technology for "filling out computerized forms using on-screen tools." The patent is being addressed in the third of a series of six trials being held in San Diego concerning Alcatel-Lucent's intellectual property. The first trial ended last month in a $1.5 billion judgment against Microsoft regarding its infringement of an MP3 digital music technology patent. Microsoft won the second case. In separate news, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took a swipe at rival Google yesterday. "They are trying to double in a year," he told a gathering of students at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. "That's insane in my opinion." Decrying Google's management structure of "a random collection of people doing their own thing," Ballmer claimed Google is at the "fun stage" of milking a good idea for all it's worth. Whether Google's strengths extend far beyond search remains to be seen, suggested Ballmer.

Sources: MarketWatch (I, II)
Commentary: Microsoft Takes Next Round in Battle with Alcatel-LucentAlcatel-Lucent Wins $1.52 Billion Patent Judgment Against MicrosoftGoogle To Microsoft: Let's Rumble
Stocks/ETFs to watch: Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT), Alcatel-Lucent [ADR] (NYSE:ALU), Gateway Inc. (GTW), Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL), Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG). ETFs: SPDR DJ Wilshire Large Cap (ELR), Broadband HOLDRs (NYSE:BDH)
Conference call transcripts: Microsoft F2Q07 (Qtr End 12/31/06), Alcatel-Lucent Q4 2006, Google Q4 2006

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Source: Microsoft Gets Boost in Alcatel Patent Battle