Gates Quibbles On Support For Mac Office, Recalls Threat To Kill It In Retaliation

Bill Gates has been taking the stand as a witness for Microsoft during antitrust hearings currently taking place. Mr. Gates, Chairman of Microsoft, and the Chief Software Architect for the company, was appearing as a witness for the defense, his own company. Nine States and the District of Columbia are continuing to pursue the case after the Bush Administrationis DoJ settled with the convicted monopoly in a deal that was seen as very favorable to Microsoft.

During cross-examination of the billionaire by attorneys for the plaintiffs, a couple of Mac-related tidbits have emerged. The first comes to us from a piece in Infoworld, where Mr. Gates was less committed to Office for the Mac than recent official statements from the company have sounded. From that piece:

The statesi lawyer asked Gates to turn his attention to the statesi provision regarding porting the Office suite. "Itis called porting, but itis giving away," Gates said, drawing laughter from the courtroom. Kuney asked why Gates claimed the statesi provision forcing it to continue developing Office for the Macintosh would be burdensome, since itis a product the company already updates. The provision calls for Microsoft to release the same number of Office versions for the Mac as it does for Windows, and with consistent features, which isnit something the company does now, Gates said.

"Being required over a period of 10 years to do that work regardless of (the Macintosh market) with things we donit do today, we find that a negative requirement," he said.

You can read the entire piece at Infoworld, and we recommend it as an interesting read.

The Associated Press brought us testimony from the trial that recalled the ancient threat from Microsoft to kill Office for the Mac unless Apple chose Internet Explorer as the default browser in the Mac OS, rather than Netscape Navigator. From the Associated Press article:

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who handled the original liability case, found that Microsoft retaliated against other companies many times.

When Apple Computer chose a rival Web browser over Microsoftis, Gates called Appleis chief executive to ask him "how we should announce the cancellation of" Microsoftis translation of the Office business suite for Appleis Macintosh computers. Gates did agree, under questioning, that the statesi proposal would have stopped him from making that threat to Apple.

There is additional information about Mr. Gatesi testimony and the ongoing trial in the full article, and it too is an interesting read.