U.S. vs. Microsoft
Navigation Bar
Navigation Bar

 Latest Story
 Trial Basics
 Case Timeline
 Key Players
Trial Archive

  Gates on tape Bill Gates Deposition Transcript – Part One
On Monday, November 2, the government released portions of a videotaped deposition of Microsoft CEO Bill Gates taken for the U.S. v. Microsoft antitrust trial.

Video excerpts are available.

Full text of the deposition portions are below. Editor's Note: There may be errors in the text resulting from the scanning process.

Q: By Mr. Houck: In or about June 1995, Mr. Gates, did you become involved in the planning for some meetings with Netscape?
A: No.

Mr. Houck: Thank you. okay.

End of segment.

Q: The e-mail I want to ask you about first, Mr. Gates, is dated June 1, 1995, and the very top portion indicates that the bottom portion is being sent to you for your information by Paul Maritz, and the bottom portion is an e-mail from Thomas Reardon dated June 1, 1995, on the subject of working with Netscape. Do you recall receiving this memorandum or e-mail?
A: E-mail, no.

Q: I apologize for using my old-fashioned terminology. You don't recall receiving this e-mail particularly?
A: No.

Q: The e-mail states that,"Dan and Barb and I met late yesterday to review our recent discussions with Netscape and form our next few action items. Dan is meeting with Jim Barksdale, their CEO, shortly. Do you understand the reference to Dan to be a reference to Dan Rosen?
A: Probably.

Q: And is the reference for Barb a reference to-Barbara Fox'?
A: I mean, you could ask Thomas. Probably.

Q: Do you have any understanding, sir?
A: Based on -- I've never spoken to Thomas about this. I don't remember seeing the e-mail.

Q: Do you recall speaking to anyone about the meeting referred to here between Dan Rosen and Jim Barksdale?
A: No.

Q: The e-mail goes on to list working goals which are:
1. Launch STT, our electronic payment protocol. Get STT presence on the Internet.
2. Move Netscape out of the Win32 Internet client area.
3. Avoid cold or hot war with Netscape. Keep them from sabotaging our platform evolution."

Do you understand the reference to Win32 Internet client to be a reference to Windows 95?

A: No

End of segment.

Q: What do you understand it to be a reference to?
A: Win32.

Q: Can you describe what that is?
A: 32 bit Windows.

Q: Is Windows 95 a 32 bit Windows product?
A: It's one of them.

Q: Were there any other 32 bit products in development in June of 1995?
A: Certainly.

Q: Which ones?
A: Windows NT.

Q: Do you know whether Mr. Reardon was referring to Windows NT and Windows 30 and Windows 95 or one or the other?
A: Win32's a term that refers to all the 32 bit platforms.

Q: And as I understand your testimony, is that the 32 bit platforms under development in June of 1995 were Windows NT and Windows 95; is that correct?
A: No. Windows NT was shipping and there was a new version that was under development.

Q: And Windows 95 was in development at this time?
A: Certainly.

End of segment.

Q: In the portion of the e-mail denominated No. 2 which is, "Move Netscape out of Win32/Win95, avoid battling them in the next year, there appears the following statement in the second paragraph, quote,

"They appear to be moving fast to establish themselves in the value-add app businesd by leveraging Netscape itself as a platform."

Do you recall whether you agreed that that's what Netscape was doing back in June '95?
A: At this time I had no sense of what Netscape was doing.

End of segment.

Q:Do you recall, as you sit here today apart from just reading these e-mails, anything that was reported back to you by any of the participants from Microsoft at this June 21st meeting?
A: Well, I think somewhere about this time somebody said to me that -- asked if it made sense for us to consider investing in Netscape. And I said that that didn't make sense to me, I didn't see that as something that made sense.

Q: Do you recall who said that to you?
A: It would have been probably suggested in a piece of e-mail from Dan, I think.

Q: Do you recall when you got that suggestion, whether it was before or after the meeting?
A: Oh, it would have been after the meeting.

Q: Do you recall anything else that anyone told you back in June 1995 about the meeting?
A: No.

End of segment.

Q: BY MR. BOIES: You are aware that it has been asserted that at that meeting there was an attempt to allocate markets between Netscape and Microsoft; correct, sir?
A: My only knowledge of that is that there was an article in the Wall Street Journal very recently that said something along those lines. Otherwise, no.

Q: Is it your testimony that the first time that you were aware that there was an assertion that there had been a market allocation meeting or an attempt to allocate markets at a meeting between representatives of Microsoft and Netscape was a recent Wall Street Journal article?
A: I'm not sure how to characterize it. The first I heard anything about that meeting and somebody trying to characterize it in some negative way was an Andreessen quote that was in the Wall Street Journal very recently. And it surprised me.

Q: Are you aware of any instanceB in which representatives of Microsoft have met with competitors in an attempt'to allocate markets?

MR. HEINER: Objection.

THE WITNESS: I'm not aware of any such thing. And I know it's very much against the way we operate.

Q: BY MR. BOIES: It would be against company policy to do that?
A: That's right.

End of segment.

when you saw the Wall Street Journal article that talked about a May meeting in terms of allegedly market dividing conduct, did you try to find out whether there had been a May meeting between representatives of Microsoft and representatives of Netscape?
A: Well, again, I wouldn't characterize the article in that way. When I read the article, what it said interested me enough and concerned me enough, I did seek to find out if there was a May meeting. But I don't think the article is what you're suggest -- said what at you're suggesting. I mean, we should get a copy of the article. I don't remember it that way. I remember Andreessen talking about how he had been in fear that Don Coerleone had come to see him. And, you know, once I realized that there was no meeting in May and that it wasn't - you know, that he after the meeting said he enjoyed the meeting and that it was, you know, just a group of our guys down there trying to talk about if there was any areas of cooperation, 'it seemed -- the whole thing seemed very strange to me.

Q: Did you talk to people to find out whether there was a May meeting?
A: Yes.

Q: Who did you talk to?
A: I consulted with my lawyers.

Q: other than consulting with your lawyers, did you try to find out whether there was a May meeting?
A: Well, my lawyers then talked to all the people that might have met with Netscape, and I made sure they did that pretty broadly.

Q: And you were informed that there was no May meeting; is that your testimony?
A: That's the understanding I was given, yes. And then I was given some of the other information that I've already mentioned

Q: But all that information came from your lawyers not from nonlawyer employees of Microsoft; is that what you're saying?
A: It came to me through my lawyers.

Q: Did you ever have a conversation with anyone in the last 12 months other than your lawyers concerning whether there were meeting in May or June of 1995 with Netscape, and if so, what happened at those meetings?
A: Well, there might have been a point after I got all the data from the lawyers where I said to some of the PR people what an outrageous slander that article had been and how unfair I felt it was. And so I may have mentioned that to them.

Q: Did you have any conversations in the last 12 months with any person who was dealing with Netscape in 1995 about whether there were May or June meetings and if so, what happened at those meetings?
A: No. I relied on the lawyers to go and meet with those people and gather the facts and educate me about was there a May meeting and what was the agenda or what was Andreessen's state of mind after the meeting, what did the notes look like. But that's all very recent. That is after the Journal article.

End of segment.

Q:Now, have you ever read the complaint in this case?
A: No.

Q: Have you ever received a summary of the complaint in this case?
A: I wouldn't say I've-received a summary, no. I've talked to my lawyers about the case but not really the complaint.

Q: Do you know whether in the complaint there is an assertion -- I'm not talking about the Wall Street Journal article, I'm talking about the complaint that was filed last May. Do you know whether in that complaint there are allegations concerning A 1995 meeting between Netscape and Microsoft representatives relating to alleged market division discussions?
A: I haven't read the complaint so I don't know for sure'. But I think somebody said that that is in there.

Q: Did you find that out before or after the Wall Street Journal article?
A: The first time I knew about these allegations was the Wall Street Journal article.

Q: That is, that 'Article preceded any knowledge that you had or didn't have related to the complaint?
A: That's right.

End of segment.

Q: Have you ever had discussions within Microsoft about the desirability of trying to undermine Sun because of what Sun was doing in Java?
A: I said to you part of our activity is to go out and work with customers to see what it takes to have them choose-to license bur products. And that's in competition with many other companies, including Sun.

End of segment.

Q: BY MR. BOIES: I'm not now talking about what you do in competition with other products or other companies. What I'm talking about is whether or not you've had discussions with people within Microsoft in which you talked about the need to undermine Sun, using those words, if that will help you, within Microsoft?
A:. I don't remember using those words.

Q:. You don't?
A: No.

Q: Do you think you did use those words or you just don't know one way or the other?
A:. I don't know.

Q: Would it be consistent with the way you felt about Java for you to have told people that you wanted to undermine Sun?
A: As I've said, anything about Java you've got to show me a context before I can answer because just the term Java itself can mean different things.

End of segment.

| I | II | III | | IV |

Video excerpts

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

Back to the top

Navigation Bar
Navigation Bar
yellow pages