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Gates: 'I could have saved MS if I'd taken the stand'

How many words for 'deranged' do they have in Redmond?

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MS on Trial The extent to which Bill Gates does not get it became even more abundantly clear this morning, when he suggested on ABC's Good Morning America that if he'd made a personal appearance at the trial, it all could have been different. Tom Lehrer gave up satire when Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize and frankly, we begin to grasp how he felt.

Bill told ABC: "If we look back, I think it's clear that the whole story of personal computing, how the great things that have been done there and how we created an industry structure that's far more competitive than what was the computer industry before we came along, that story didn't get out. And I do wonder if I'd taken the time to go back personally and testify, if we might have done a better job in getting that across."

Now, as we all know, Bill wasn't put forward as a witness by Microsoft, but was heavily videotaped by the DoJ. That footage was replayed at the trial to devastating effect - Bill was evasive, unconvincing, awful.

A major fault in Microsoft's case, as we've observed previously, was that it just plain didn't understand the difference between offering evidence and evangelising products. You look at the huge documents Microsoft's execs filed with the court, and they're almost entirely (we're being kind) PowerPoint-style presentations that assume the audience is supposed to believe, because I'm the guy on the podium. Courts don't work like this.

Bill has now convinced himself (with remarkable and commendable speed), that if he'd made the presentation he could have just told the court how great everything was, what a great job Microsoft was doing, and that would have been the end of it. But courts don't work like this.

Bill does great demos, everybody knows that. But there's a corollary - Bill's greatness in demos is closely related (as the people in Microsoft who'll tell you he does great demos will actually admit) to his ability to make things look convincing when the products aren't finished, or even don't really exist yet.

So Bill now thinks he could have fixed it. But Bill definitely doesn't get it. ®

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