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Gates will not take stand at DoJ showdown

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Bill Gates will not be a witness at the antitrust trial in Washington scheduled to start on 23 September -- at least not for Microsoft. He will, of course, be liable to appear for the Department of Justice in video extracts of his deposition. No doubt his PR team influenced the decision. Microsoft's PR slant for the decision, from spokesman Jim Cullinan, is that "Bill is a visionary for this company and the overall leader, but these people on our witness list were there handling the day-to-day operations". Steve Ballmer is peripheral since he is not technical. Each side will be allowed 12 witnesses. Microsoft has chosen an economist and a computer scientist from MIT; John Rose, a senior VP at Compaq, who will have a tough time explaining why Compaq is no longer upset at the threats it received from Microsoft to remove its Windows licence if it did not do what it was told about putting up Internet Explorer. Michael Devlin, president of Rational Software and a man with close business ties with Microsoft will also take the stand. There is a gang of eight from Microsoft, consisting of Paul Maritz, Jim Allchin, Joachim Kempin, Brad Chase and Cameron Myhrvold -- all Microsoft VPs -- with Yusuf Mehdi, William Poole and Daniel Rosen completing the team. They are probably being coached on how to handle it. The DoJ's witnesses include Jim Barksdale, Chairman of Netscape (who will, no doubt not agree with Rosen's version of a meeting between Microsoft and Netscape, where the DoJ alleges that Microsoft tried to do a deal with Netscape to stop it competing on the PC with its browser. David Colburn, a senior VP of AOL, who can answer questions about Microsoft browser negotiations, will also help, as will Steven McGeady, a VP of Intel, who has first hand knowledge of Microsoft's pressures on Intel in the software and content sector. William Harris is a VP of Intuit, a company that Microsoft tried to buy. Other witnesses include a user from Boeing, the president of a software company, two economists, an academic computer scientist, and a telecoms professor. ®

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