Microsoft Chairman and co-founder, Bill Gates, took the witness stand on Monday in a billion-dollar antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft.
Microsoft attempted to get the billion-dollar antitrust case, filed by Novell, dismissed by a federal court in Salt Lake City on Friday. The software giant was unsuccessful and Chairman Bill Gates took the witness stand on Monday to defend Microsoft. The hearing started around a month ago and sees Microsoft defend itself against antitrust allegations dating back to competition in the 1990s. Novell originally sued Microsoft in 2004, claiming that Microsoft violated U.S. antitrust laws and harmed Novell’s range of software products. Novell has submitted an Exhibit of an email from 1994. The email is from former Microsoft CEO and chairman Bill Gates to his software development teams.
Gates started his testimony on Monday with a history of Microsoft. “We thought everybody would have a personal computer on every desk and in every home,” he said, reports The Associated Press. “We wanted to be there and be the first.” Gates was reportedly wearing a grey suit and yellow tie and was the first witness to testify on Monday. Gates is expected to defend Microsoft throughout the course of Monday as the case continues.
Novell picked up the Gates email and claims that Microsoft sought to delay the release of Windows 95, thus keeping the company’s Word Perfect word processing program and Quattro Pro spreadsheet application from gaining any significant market share. Novell is seeking $1.2 billion in composition for what it deems are losses. Microsoft rejects the claims and asked a judge to dismiss the entire case on Friday. Microsoft says that the company decided against installing WordPerfect as it was unstable and couldn’t be fixed in time for the Windows 95 release. “Novell never complained to Microsoft,” Microsoft lawyer David Tulchin said in an interview on Friday. “There’s nothing in the evidence, no documents.” If the court case proceeds on Monday then Bill Gates will be called to the court room to testify in his company’s defence.
Microsoft’s recently moved to acquire Novell’s old patents in part of a group known as CPTN. Microsoft’s co-owned CPTN Holdings LLC was setup back in 2006 when the two companies signed a patent deal, designed to focus on virtualization, asset management and document formats. Novell agreed to add Microsoft Office’s Open XML format to the Open Office suite, available on the SUSE distribution. Novell also agreed to pay Microsoft a percentage of revenue from its open-source products.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Jim Urquhart