Gates under the grill – the full transcript

The Register publishes the full (well nearly) Monty, for all you trial junkies out there

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Below we publish the first full transcript of Bill Gates' video testimony. All Gates' words are uttered under oath, so they must be true, so the Bill Gates memos produced by DoJ attorney David Boies afterwards which appear to contradict him can't be. Presumably. Gates shows little sign of having been well-briefed for the deposition by Microsoft lawyers. It is quite likely that Gates refused advice - this is of constant concern to his PR handlers. It may well turn out, if the performance he produced on Monday is typical, that the greatest single factor causing Microsoft to lose the case will be Gates' performance. Gates' had a mantra for the part of the deposition about Intel: the words were "low quality" and "incompatible" for Intel software. His vehemence, and other evidence, suggests that the opposite may be true: Intel's software was a considerable threat to Microsoft, as we shall detail in due course. Outside the courtroom, Boies said that Microsoft deliberately tried to stop Intel from competing because its software quality was good, not poor. In many of the exchanges which follow, Gates paused for up to 25 seconds, staring down at the table: Boies: Did Microsoft make any effort to convince Intel not to help Sun and Java? Gates: Not that I know of. Boies: Did you or anyone at Microsoft attempt to convince Intel not to engage in any software activity? [Microsoft lawyer Heiner objected, but Gates responded] Gates: No. Boies: Did you or, to your knowledge, anyone at Microsoft try to convince Intel that it should not engage in any software activity unless Microsoft was involved in that activity? Gates: I'm sure we pointed out sometimes how sometimes a lack of communications between the two companies on various subjects including software development led to unfortunate unreliability and mismatch, which led to bad customer experiences. Boies: And what did that lead you to ask Intel to do? Gates: Oh, in general, to see if we couldn't do a better job communicating with each other so that people would have better experiences using the PC. [32 lines of testimony not shown] Boies: Did you or, insofar as you're aware, anyone else at Microsoft tell people at Intel that they should leave the software side of the PC business entirely to Microsoft? Gates: We were having a hard time coordinating our work with Intel, and we thought the quality of some of their work was very low as well as not working with any of our new Windows work. We may have suggested at some point that the net contribution of their software activities could even be viewed to be negative. Boies: Did you, or insofar as you are aware, anyone else at Microsoft tell representatives of Intel that their software activities were inconsistent with cooperation between Intel and Microsoft? Gates: The specific work they did that completely broke our work I'm sure I indicated I didn't think that was a good idea for either company. Boies: Other than the specific software that would not work on Windows 95 that Intel was working on, did you or, insofar as you are aware, anyone else at Microsoft tell Intel representatives that the software work that Intel was doing was inconsistent with cooperation between Intel and Microsoft? Gates: Well, there's some other things that they did that created incompatibilities. Boies: Incompatibilities between what and what? Gates: Between their software and Windows, that was intended to run on Windows, that created incompatibilities. Boies: And did you tell them that that software also was not consistent with cooperation between Microsoft and Intel? Gates: I doubt I used those words. I suggested that it wasn't helpful to any of their goals or our goals to have software that had incompatibilities and was low quality and broke. Boies: Did you, Mr. Gates, personally ever express concern to (Intel Chairman Andy) Mr. Grove that Intel's software work was beginning to overlap with Microsoft's software work? Gates: Only in the sense that the low quality and incompatibilities were inconsistent with any goals that Intel might have had in doing that work. Boies: Why was that a concern? Gates: Because Intel was wasting its money by writing low quality software that created incompatibilities for users, and those negative experiences weren't helpful for any goal that Intel had. Boies: Were they harmful to any goal that Microsoft had? Gates: Only in the sense of hurting PC popularity by creating negative user experiences. Boies: Is it your testimony that your only concern with what Intel was doing in the software area was a concern to avoid negative user experiences? Gates: That's right. Low quality and incompatibilities. Boies: Which, according to you, would lead to negative user experiences, correct? Gates: That's right. Boies: Did you or, insofar as you are aware, anybody at Microsoft ever tell Intel representatives in words or in substance that they should stick to hardware and leave the software to Microsoft? [Microsoft lawyer Heiner objected, but Gates responded] Gates: I'm sure there were times when we were frustrated about the quality and incompatibility problems created about their software where someone might have expressed that sentiment in an extreme feeling about how tough it had been for Intel to do quality work that would have advanced any Intel goal. Boies: Were you aware of any work that Intel was doing relating to Internet software development? Gates: I can't think of any. [A memo by McGeady after the 2 August 1995 meeting between Intel and Microsoft, attended by Gates, said that "Gates was livid" about Intel's investments in the Internet and "wanted them stopped." McGeady wrote: Gates didn't want [Intel's] engineers interfering with his plans for domination of the PC industry. He was very upset . . . quite enraged at one point. . . . Bill made it clear he wouldn't support our plans if we didn't get alignment.] Boies: Did you ever express any concern to anyone at Intel, or to your knowledge, did anyone at Microsoft ever express any concern to anyone at Intel concerning Intel's Internet software work, if any? Gates: I don't think Intel ever did any Internet software work. Boies: And if they did, I take it it's your testimony no one ever told you about it? Gates: That's right. [93 lines of testimony not shown] Boies: Did you ask Intel to keep you apprised of what software work Intel was doing? Gates: I think I made that request in vain on several occasions, nothing ever came of it. Boies: Is it your testimony that they refused to keep you apprised of the software work they were doing? Gates: No. I just said to them that if they would -- whatever software work they were doing that was intended to help Windows, they should talk to us about it early on if they wanted to have the highest probability that it would, in fact, achieve that goal. And unfortunately, we never achieved that result; that is, they would do things related to Windows without talking to us in advance, and then once they had done the work, there would be some incompatibilities between what they had done and Windows itself. Boies: When is the last time that you asked Intel to keep you apprised of what software work they were doing? Gates: I'm not sure Boies: Approximately when? Gates: I don't know. Boies: Was it in the last year? Gates: I don't know. Boies: Was it within the last two years? Gates: I honestly don't know. Boies: Was it within the last three years? Gates: There's probably one instance where I asked them to tell us about things they were doing related to Windows. Boies: Did you or others, to your knowledge, from Microsoft tell Intel that if Intel began to compete with Microsoft, Microsoft would be forced to begin to compete with Intel? Gates: No. Boies: Not at all, sir? Never said that in words or in substance? Gates: No. Boies: To your knowledge did anyone else from Microsoft ever say that? Gates: I'm not aware of anybody saying that. Boies: If anybody had said that, would you consider it to be inconsistent with company policy? [Microsoft lawyer Heiner objected, but Gates responded] Gates: I'm confused. Intel and Microsoft are not in the same businesses, so there's no policy about one of our people suggesting that we're going to go into the chip business. Boies: Was it part of what you wanted to accomplish, Mr Gates, to keep Intel and Microsoft in separate businesses? Gates: No. Boies: Did you ever take any action intended to accomplish that? Gates: No. Boies: Did you or, to your knowledge, anyone from Microsoft ever tell people at Intel that Microsoft would hold up support for Intel's microprocessors if Intel didn't cooperate with Microsoft in areas that Microsoft wanted Intel's cooperation in? Gates: When we saw Intel doing the low quality work that was creating incompatibilities in Windows that served absolutely no Intel goal, we suggested to Intel that that should change. And it became frustrating to us because it was a long period of time where they kept doing work that we thought, although it was intended to be positive in the Windows environment, it was actually negative. And we did point out the irony of how while we seemed to communicate with them on microprocessor issues and yet they seemed on the areas where they were trying to enhance Windows that the communication worked very poorly. Boies: Did you or others on behalf of Microsoft tell Intel that Microsoft would hold up support for Intel's microprocessors if Intel did not cooperate with Microsoft? Gates: No. Boies: No one ever told Intel that, to your knowledge? Gates: That's right. [24 lines of testimony not shown] Boies: Did you, Mr. Gates, ever yourself try to get Intel to reduce its support of Netscape? Gates: I'm not aware of any work that Intel did in supporting Netscape. They may have used their browser internally or one of their server things, but that's -- that's not really support. So I'm not sure of any support they were giving to Netscape. Boies: You may mean that to answer my question, but I want to be clear. It is your testimony that you're not aware of any instance where you asked anybody at Intel to reduce the support that Intel was providing to Netscape; is that your testimony? Gates: No. I may have asked I may -- and I don't remember it -- but I may have talked to them about their internal browser use. I don't think so, but I may have. And I may have talked to them about their web servers and what they were using, but I don't think so. ® Click for more stories Complete Register trial coverage

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story


Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.