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Wednesday, November 4, 1998 Published at 00:14 GMT


Gates: I don't remember talking about 'undermining' Sun

Bill Gates has appeared in court - on screen

Microsoft boss Bill Gates told US Government lawyers that he could not remember having internal discussions about a need to "undermine" Sun Microsystems because of what it was doing in Java.

In videotaped testimony shown in court on Monday as part of the legal case against the computer giant, Mr Gates was asked about the threat to his business of Java and Netscape's Internet browser.

Bill Gates: Did not use the word "undermine"
He was asked whether he sent an e-mail in August 1997 containing the line: "Do we have a clear plan on what we want Apple to do to undermine Sun?"

He replied: "I don't remember sending it.

When pressed, he said: "It appears to be an e-mail I sent."

The Java programming language works without Microsoft's Windows system.

Bill Gates: "Not the way we operate"
Mr Gates was also asked about a meeting in June 1995 between representatives of Microsoft and Netscape.

The government contends Microsoft made an illegal offer to Netscape to divide the Internet browser market, so that Microsoft had the Windows market and Netscape had the rest.

When asked if he was aware if Microsoft representatives had met with competitors in an attempt to allocate markets he said: "That is very much against the way we operate."

Bill Gates and Microsoft on trial, courtesy APTN
He also said he only knew about the assertions from a recent article in Wall Street Journal.

However, he did recall turning down an internal suggestion that Microsoft invest in Netscape.

More than half an hour of footage was broadcast showing Mr Gates jousting with government lawyers in pre-trial interviews. It was then released to the public.

Bill Gates can't remember certain e-mails
He was shown numerous internal e-mails said to contain details about how Microsoft was using strong-arm tactics against it competitors.

The federal government and 20 states are accusing Microsoft of using its monopoly in personal computer operating systems to try to squeeze out its competitors.

Stephen Gibbs: Bill Gates looked distinctly uncomfortable
A judge last week ruled that all 20 hours of videotaped interviews with Mr Gates could be shown to the court.

Gates's objections

Lawyers representing Mr Gates had originally objected to the tapes being played.

They argued that if so many hours were to be used, the US Government should count Mr Gates as a witness and give up one of its other 12 witnesses.

District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson said Mr Gates was so important that "a witness of equivalent significance in this case doesn't immediately come to mind."

He invited Microsoft to offer another witness, if it could justify adding one.

Microsoft lawyer John Warden said he had no objection.

Government lawyer David Boies said the government would try to cut down the amount of videotaped testimony to six or seven hours.

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