Feeds

Trial focus shifts to Gates

The DoJ is banking on Bill Gates turning out to be its star witness

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Bill Gates will be appearing on videotape next week in the Washington DC Federal courthouse, effectively as a witness for the government. The edited videotape of his deposition will be made available to the media shortly afterwards. For many Americans, there will be immediate parallels with the videotapes of President Clinton being questioned in front of the grand jury. Both men were ill at ease, and both were parsimonious with the facts. Clinton is certainly the better actor, but Gates is much admired in the US because of his wealth, which has been unaffected by the current case as Microsoft's share price has crept up to $107, with investors not expecting any negative effects on the company in the near future. The DoJ has much to learn about media and public relations -- and there could hardly be a better tutor than Microsoft -- but it now seems probable that the timing may be chosen with a view to achieving the maximum impact on television and in the press. Gates does not have a good record as a witness: his performance in the Stac Electronics vs Microsoft case, which Microsoft lost and had to pay $120 million to Stac, was regarded as a disaster. The DoJ could have called him as a witness, as could Microsoft, but evidently the DoJ thinks its case is helped more by the videotape than a public appearance, especially as Gates would behave better in court than in a conference room for three days last August at Microsoft's Redmond headquarters. There, he seems to have been arrogant and suddenly unable to remember even the most basic things. Microsoft had said Gates could only be available for one day, but Judge Jackson said he should be available for as long as the DoJ required. Microsoft's legal team will have weighed his failure to appear in person as a witness for Microsoft, as would be normal in such cases, with the possibility that his performance would be detrimental to the case. Microsoft has been allowed to choose one hour of the first three hours of extracts to be played. The screening had been promised for several days last week, but the slowness of Microsoft attorney John Warden's cross-examination prevented this. Microsoft successfully argued that as the videotape is effectively the same as a witness, the DoJ should be obliged to forego calling one of its twelve witnesses. Judge Jackson ruled that Microsoft would be allowed to have another witness, or introduce an additional deposition, although Jackson said he could not think of anyone as important to the case as Gates. In addition, the DoJ could show all 20 hours of videotape if it wished, Jackson decided, although Boies said the DoJ would try to cut the tape down to six or seven hours. This will make it more difficult for Microsoft to claim convincingly that the tape has been edited out of context. On Monday, Avadis Tevanian of Apple will be the first witness, but DoJ attorney David Boies has said he will no longer try to forecast when the tape would be shown. On Thursday, Warden teased the TV crews who had been waiting for the Gates' tape by showing some videotape of Gates with Steve Case, AOL's CEO, during the announcement of the deal between Microsoft and AOL. It was not the tape for which they had been waiting for outside the courthouse for four days. ® Complete Register trial coverage Click for more stories Click for story index

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
French 'terror law' declares WAR on the INTERNET itself, say digi-rights folks
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité: Two out of three ain't bad
SCREW YOU, EU: BBC rolls out Right To Remember as Google deletes links
Not even Google can withstand the power of Auntie
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.