It's no secret that Alcatel-Lucent and Microsoft have a long and somewhat litigious relationship, but today the two companies are letting bygones be bygones. CNET is reporting that A-L and MS have reached a "confidential settlement" in a patent dispute dating all the way back to 2002. Originally targeting Dell and Gateway, then-Alcatel alleged that information entry techniques used by Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Money and Windows Mobile violated a portion of its patent portfolio. Microsoft stepped in on the OEMs' behalf, and in a 2008 ruling, a court granted the newly formed Alcatel-Lucent over $350 million in damages -- subsequently reduced to $70 million in July of 2011 and further reduced to just over $23 million upon appeal. The final settlement is, as we said, unknown, but a Microsoft spokesperson was quoted as saying the deal is "to the satisfaction of both parties." No word on when the two will file their next multimillion dollar blockbuster lawsuit, but apparently both counsels will be sleeping easy tonight.

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Microsoft, Alcatel-Lucent settle decade-old patent spat