Bill Gates testifies in billion-dollar lawsuit over Windows 95

By Tom Warren, on 21st Nov 11 4:03 pm with 36 Comments

Bill Gates arrives at court on Monday

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

  • Anonymous

     Microsoft lawyer David Tulchin said in an interview on Friday. “There’s nothing in the evidence, no documents.”

    and then BAM Novell shows up with the documents that prove MSFT lied! DOJ invokes the “death penalty” on Microsoft.

    • OMG55

      You should be commenting on the latest patch Apple release relating to the iphone 4s battery  life that didn’t fix it but made it worse. Stop pretending as if MS is the only software company that’s in the news. Oh! that’s right, the media and iphone try to sweep their problems under the rug and highlight others.

    • Anonymous

      and then BAM Novell gets hit with monetary sanctions for not previously disclosing such a document.

    • Anonymous

      I’d like someone to explain how delaying win95 hurt Novell. If win95 is delayed, MS couldn’t release the office 95 either. It’s not like MS blocked wordperfect on win 95 until Office became dominant. The way I remember this, wordperfect failed because they took too long to update their graphical UI.

  • Al Maktoum

    allah bless BG

    • Anonymous

      God bless BG

    • Mar Nag

      Flying spaghetti monster bless BG with your delicious heavenly sauce 

  • Pierre Venescar

    if microsoft get sued then consumers should get a portion of that money

  • Zaksousa23

    Windows 95? This sounds like legal trolling

    • Tom

      No kidding.  Why isn’t there a statute of limitations on this sort of thing?

      You know, Bill Gates is looking pretty sharp in a suit-and-tie.  Interestingly, he’s moved in the exact opposite direction of Steve Jobs’ wardrobe.  Maybe it’s because of Melinda.

  • Rosco IT Solutions

    who cares? Novell? Windows 95? This just seems like a pointless case

    • BadManDuke

      I couldn’t help but notice that Novell is suing for damages greater than half of what they were acquired for by Attachmate.

      Seems that Attachmate is allowing this suit to go ahead as a means of ROI.

  • oolong2

    “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.”

    I still don’t get how this is a claim that should be taken seriously…  I still don’t get why this wasn’t dismissed.

    1.  Who cares when they decided to release Windows 95 or even why?

    2. What’s up with Bill’s testimony?  “We thought everybody would have a personal computer on every desk and in every home,”

    Seriously?  What does this have to do with the case against you?  Is he just there to be a Microsoft commercial?

    2.  Like I said before if you look at the release of Word Perfect it was DELAYED even though they had plenty of lead time with pre-release copies of Windows 95.  When they finally released it, Word Perfect was full of BUGS.

    The bottom line is IT DOESN’T MATTER when Windows 95 was released because Novell’s customers didn’t have it until it was released.

    This appears to be nothing more than legal parasites attempting to latch on to a whale by simply making up reasons for a lawsuit and seeing what sticks.

  • WP7 & Lovin It

    Is there no statute of limitations on crap like this?

    • Anonymous

      Is there a statute of limitation on Nazi war criminals?

    • Ianerrid

      Is there a statute of limitations on trolling posting?

    • Guest

      Stupid, even for you.

    • Guest

      Is it a crime to be as dumb as you are? If not, it should be. A capital one.

    • Guest


      The above comment is ridiculous and highly offensive. It should be removed. And frankly aren’t we way past the point where this idiot should be banned?

    • Anonymous

      Are you really comparing killing people with a civil antitrust case?

    • Guest

      Ask IBM. They were in bed with them from the mid 30′s right up to and even past America’s entry into WWII.

  • Anonymous

    The reason Microsoft is considered so evil by so many is because of the idea that they have set back personal computing by 10 years. If not for the cruft of Windows 3.0/95 we could have gotten something like Snow Leopard in 2000.

    • Guest

      Idiotic, like most of your drivel.

    • Kulwinder Singh

      A Troll like you can’t justify Set back of computing for 10 years, Apple was there also but the price tag was to high so it reached 1% at that time, It was Microsoft Who wanted A Computer on Every desk. If Apple got there way in back 90′s now in 2011 it would be 10% to 15% computer in the world only for richest to afford computers… At least every damn corporation do bad things one thing is good My transportation company runs windows more than a decade without a single Virus Issue and without getting compromised, We have Windows vista Business Runs Flawless since launch… I have 20 Computers runs Vista Business SP 2 and 5 are windows 7 Professional… Snow Leopard in 2000 Well It was Apple fault they were too slow to get the things done in right time..

    • Carl Camera

      Check your tech history. OS/2 had preemptive multitasking, program isolation, DOS compatibility, and OS/2 Warp was in the market before “Chicago” was released.  Oh and unlike Snow Leopard, you could resize windows on all sides and all corners.  Only Lion does that now.

    • Anonymous

      And it allegedly pays MS for that feature.

    • Tom

      Apple and Microsoft have a royalty-free patent cross-licensing agreement.

    • Monkey D Black

      are you stupid? i’m sorry i just had to ask cause i don’t get where you got that idea from.  

    • Anonymous

      Just like your dumbass Nazi comment, you need to look up what evil means. You can call MS anti-competative or even ruthless in their business tactics, but nothing they ever did can be classified as evil. When people start dying from something produce and they have full knowledge of it, then you can call them evil.

    • BadManDuke


      and I take it that Apple was going to deliver this WITHOUT Steve Jobs?

    • Anonymous

      Oh please, Windows XP is superior to Snow Leopard. Stop trolling

    • Anonymous

      Backwards compatibility is an important trait and != cruft. MS advanced the world of personal computing from the dark age of multiple architectures, multiple OSes and prohibitive prices; how… through standardization.

  • Anonymous

    He’s so damn hot

    • BadManDuke

      The look on his face and his pose just screams:

      “What’s up bitches?”

  • Karl Cramer

    Give the devil his due. Microsoft Word was better than WordPerfect. That was true before Windows 95. That was true after Windows 95.

  • BigChiefSmokem

    Dollar Dollar Bill yall