It must have pretty exciting for jurors in Salt Lake City to see Bill Gates arrive to testify in Novell’s antitrust case against Microsoft.
That was Monday. By yesterday the thrill was gone, apparently replaced with the realization that they’re deciding a case based on events that took place more than 15 years ago, involving versions of software that nobody uses anymore.
Gates, meanwhile, was back in fighting form — or at least a 56-year-old approximation of it.
That’s the impression left by this Associated Press report from the scene, as Gates faced cross-examination from Novell’s lawyer over claims that Microsoft used the market power of Windows 95 to make decisions that damaged WordPerfect, then a main a competitor to Microsoft Word.
On Tuesday, Gates shot back that Word was “far superior” to WordPerfect, which was a “bulky, slow, buggy product” that did not integrate well with Windows 95. Gates said his engineers warned it threatened the reliability of future Windows versions.
For hours Tuesday, Gates sparred with Novell’s trial attorney over software terms as jury members yawned in boredom.
“He’s not an easy witness,” said Novell attorney Jeffrey Johnson.
Gates was legendary for his behavior during a deposition conducted by David Boies during the company’s landmark U.S. antitrust case.
The Novell case, filed in 2004, has been through an extended series of twists and turns, and was revived by an appeals court in May.
Also see this Bloomberg News report for more details from the courtroom.