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They say the wheels of justice turn slowly, but this is getting a little crazy.

Microsoft has listed Bill Gates as a potential witness in a new trial over antitrust allegations against the Redmond company dating back to the Windows 95 era. This is the long-running Novell case, which alleges that Microsoft acted anti-competitively against WordPerfect and Quattro Pro back in the day.

The case, filed in 2004, has been through an extended series of twists and turns, and was revived by an appeals court in May.

Gates would be taking the stand to try to explain an email message he sent in October 1994. Novell’s lawyers call the message a smoking gun showing that Microsoft used Windows to give Office an unfair advantage against competing programs. Gates contends that the email is being misinterpreted.

Local interest in the case extends beyond Microsoft, thanks to the acquisition of Novell this by Attachmate Group, the Houston-based software company with roots in Seattle.

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