Microsoft not liable for software malfunction

(A 1221/00 Ziur Microfilm Services Agency v. Microsoft Israel Ltd. et al. Hebrew) The Tel-Aviv District Court rejected a lawsuit by Ziur, a software company, against Microsoft. Ziur argued that a program it migrated to Hebrew under MS Windows 3.11 ceased to function properly under Microsoft Windows 95 operating system. According to Ziur, it suffered large financial losses as result of its program becoming incompatible with the new operating system. In particular, the Hebrew display was utterly distorted when the program was activated on computers that ran Windows 95.

Judge Zipora Baron found that Ziur did not purchase any services or products from Microsoft, was not Microsoft's client and did not sign any agreement with it. Baron concluded that no commercial relations existed between the companies.

Plaintiff failed to prove that its program operated without interruptions on Windows 3.11 and refrained from providing an expert opinion to support this claim. Furthermore, Plaintiff chose to limit its witnesses only to software programmers that it employed, a fact that hindered its claim.

Ziur's refusal to disclose its source code to be examined undermined its arguments. The evidence at large proved that the program was not operating properly even under Windows 3.11 and that the migration of the software to Hebrew was not conducted in accordance with MS's instructions. Finally, the District court ruled that even under the assumption that Microsoft is a monopoly, and as such should make sure that future versions of its operating systems support programs that were developed under past versions; this does not apply where the software was developed not according to MS's instructions.

Ziur was ordered to pay Microsoft 20,000 NIS in expenses.