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Microsoft Will Call Gates To Testify This Week

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft Corp, will testify in person for the first time in the Washington DC court where his company's years-long antitrust case is being heard.

Gates will "talk about the evolution of the PC ecosystem and Microsoft's role in fostering innovation in the PC industry" according to a company statement. More importantly, he will testify "how the remedies proposed by the non-settling states would imperil not only Microsoft's business, but also cause harm to PC industry and consumers".

Nine states that refuse to sign up to Microsoft's settlement with the Department of Justice are proposing more stringent remedies for Microsoft's illegal actions. They want a modular Windows, more API openness, and a guarantee to support Java in future versions of the operating system, among other things.

During the original trial in 1999, which Microsoft lost, Gates did not testify in person, choosing instead to appear in videotaped testimony. Many believe this harmed the case - Gates' answers were considered evasive and the questioning frequently seemed farcical. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who was hearing the case, laughed and shook his head during at least one session of Gates' taped testimony.

Also testifying this week on Microsoft's behalf will be Chris Jones, corporate vice president of the Windows Client Team at Microsoft. He will testify that to adopt the remedies proposed by the states will harm the design of the operating system.

He will be joined by Rob Short, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Windows Base OS Kernel. Short will testify on the consequences to the interoperability of the Windows client-server model, and the modularization of Windows XP. He is expected to claim parts of the OS, such as the Internet Explorer browser, cannot be removed without harming the overall product.

Only three names have been put forward to testify this week, compared to seven last week, suggesting that Microsoft expects Gates to get quite a grilling at the hands of the states' attorneys, as well under examination by its own lawyers.

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