MS Gates Notes : LUSENET : MS-DOJ : One Thread

OK. For Microsoft the Gates deposition really only established one thing. That we really need to keep that guy off the witness stand. His performance was so spectacularly poor that it prompted a Wall Street Journal article titled "Even Great CEOs Can Be Terrible Witnesses" (WSJ 11/9/98 B1). Otherwise, it's a little tricky to summarize what Gates' testimony accomplished from the Microsoft perspective, because there's no Microsoft "cross" to work from.

Appearances aside, Gates managed to avoid admitting murder or giving away his first born child. DOJ threw a bunch of allegations at him, and he claimed complete ignorance as to most of them. He doesn't remember, for example, plotting to divide up the browser market with Netscape in a June 1995 meeting.

Most of the DOJ questions concerned Microsoft's dealings with Apple. Specifically, whether Microsoft threatened to cancel its Office update for Mac ("Macoffice" -- comes with fries and a drink for $2.99) in order to badger Apple into ditching Netscape, Sun and Apple's multimedia application. Gates asserted that he did not know whether, at the time of the deposition, Apple was free to ship Netscape without also shipping Internet Explorer (p. 51). Instead, he claimed that the most important concession from Apple were licenses on Apple patents.

If DOJ did any damage with the exchange, it was by destroying Gates' credibility. Nobody with a house as big as Gates' could possibly be as uninformed and forgetful as he claimed to be. Although he definitely looked bad, Gates' evasive, unresponsive answers certainly didn't give DOJ any new ammunition to shoot back at him. And for what it's worth, his spokesman says, "Bill always rocks back and forth." (WSJ, above).

Mike D'Annunzio 3-9050

-- Anonymous, November 13, 1998

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