The New York Times
November 3, 1998
Excerpts From the Videotaped Deposition
Excerpts from Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates' videotaped deposition, played Monday during the company's antitrust trial:
Q. You are aware that it has been aserted that at that meeting there was an attempt to allocate markets between Netscap and Microsoft; correct, sir?
A. My only knowledge of that is that there was an article in The Wall Street Journal very recently that said something along those lines. Otherwise, no.
Q. Is it your testimony that the first time you were aware that there was an assertion that there had been a market allocation meeting or an attempt to allocate markets at a meeting between representatives of Microsoft and Netscape was a recent Wall Street Journal article?
A. I'm not sure how to characterize it. The first I heard anything about that meeting and somebody trying to characterize it in some negative way was an Andreessen quote that was in The Wall Street Journal very recently. And it surprised me.
Q. Are you aware of any instances in which representatives of Microsoft have met with competitors in an attempt to allocate markets?
Mr. Heiner: Objection.
A. I'm not aware of any such thing. And I know it's very much against the way we operate.
Q. It would be against company policy to do that?
A. That's right.
Q. When you saw the Wall Street Journal article that talked about a May meeting in terms of allegedly market dividing conduct, did you try to find out whether there had been a May meeting between representatives of Microsoft and representatives of Netscape?
A. Well, again, I wouldn't characterize the article in that way. When I read the article, what it said interested me enough and concerned me enough, I did seek to find out if there was a May meeting. But I don't think the article is what you're suggest -- said what you're suggesting. I mean, we should get a copy of the article. I don't remember it that way. I remember Andreessen talking about how he had been in fear that Don Coerleone had come to see him. And, you know, once I realized that there was no meeting in May and that it wasn't -- you know, that he after the meeting said he enjoyed the meeting and that it was, you know, just a group of our guys down there trying to talk about if there was any areas of cooperation, it seemed -- the whole thing seemed very strange to me.
Q Did you talk to people to find out whether there was a May meeting?
Q Who did you talk to?
A I consulted with my lawyers.
Q Other than consulting with your lawyers, did you try to find oput whether there was a May meeting?
A Well, my lawyers then talked to all the people that might have met with Netscape, and I made sure they did that pretty broadly.
Q. And you were informed that there was no May meeting; is that your testimony?
A. That's the understanding I was given, yes. And then I was given some of the other information that I've already mentioned.
Q. But all that information came from your lawyers not from nonlawyer employees of Microsoft; is that what you're saying?
A. It came to me through my lawyers.
Q. Did you ever have a conversation with anyone in the last 12 months other than your lawyers concerning whether there were meetings in May or June of 1995 with Netscape, and if so, what happened at those meetings?
A. Well, there might have been a point after I got all the data from the lawyers where l said to some of the PR people what an outrageous slander that article had been and how unfair I felt it was. And so I may have mentioned that to them.
Q. Have you ever had discussions within Microsoft about the desirability of trying to undermine Sun because of what Sun was doing in Java?
A. I said to you part of our activity is to go out and work with customers to see what it takes to have them choose to license our products. And that's in competition with many other companies, including Sun.
Q. I'm not now talking about what you do in competition with other products or other companies. What I'm talking about is whether or not you've had discussions with people within Microsoft in which you talked about the need to undermine Sun, using those words, if that will help you, within Microsoft?
A. I don't remember using those words.
Q. You don't?
Q. Do you think you did use those words or you just don't know one way or the other?
A. I don't know.
Q. Would it be consistent with the way you felt about Java for you to have told people that you wanted to undermine Sun?
A. As I've said, anything about Java you've got to show me a context before I can answer because just the term Java itself can mean different things.
Q.Did you have discusions with Apple in which you were trying to get Apple to agree to help you undermine Sun?
A. There was some discussion about what runtime APIs Apple would support, whether they would support some of ours or some of Sun's. I don't think I was involved in any discussions myself with Apple about that.
Q. Well, let me show you a document and try to probe what you mean by being involved. Let me give you a copy of a document that has been previously marked as Government Exhibit 265.
A portion of this document is an e-mail message from you to Paul Maritz and others and the portion I'm particularly interested in, and you can read as much of the three-line e-mail as you wish, is the last sentence, which reads, "Do we have a clear plan on what we want Apple to do to undermine Sun?"
Did you send this e-mail, Mr. Gates, on or about Aug. 8, 1997?
A. I don't remember sending it.
Q. Do you have any doubt that you sent it?
A. No. It appears to be an e-mail I sent.
Q. You recognize that this is a document produced from Microsoft's files do you not, sir?
Q. You don't?
A. Well, how would I know that?
Q. Do you see the document production numbers down at the bottom?
A. I have no idea what those numbers are.
Q. Let me go back to the e-mail, Mr. Gates. What did you mean when you asked Mr. Maritz whether or not, "We have a clear plan on what we want Apple to do to undermine Sun"?
A. I don't remember.
Q. Did you personally participate in any conversations with Apple in 1997 and 1998?
A. Of any kind?
Q. Let me be a little more specific. Did you participate in any conversations with Apple in 1997 or 1998 concerning what Apple would or would not do that would affect Microsoft competitively?
A. Well, there were some conversations with Steve Jobs about Microsoft Office and some -- and a relationship we formed around that and some other issues.
Q. And did you participate in those conversations?
A. I talked to Steve Jobs on the phone I think twice.
Q. And what was the nature of your conversations with Mr. Jobs?
A. Well, Steve had -- Steve called me up and said that he had become the CEO of Apple, sort of, and that Gil Amelio wasn't the CEO of Apple. And he raised the question of was there some beneficial agreement that we could enter into different than we'd been discussing with Gil. And it wasn't a very long call and the conclusion was that Greg Maffei would go see Steve.
Q. Was it your understanding that Microsoft Office for Macintosh was believed by Apple to be very important to them?
A. I really have a hard time testifying about the belief of a corporatin. I really don't know what that means.
Q. Well, sir, in making the decisions as to what you would ask of Apple, did you believe that what you were offering Apple with respect to Microsoft Office for Macintosh was important enough to Apple so that they ought to give you something for it?
A. I have no idea what you're talking about when you say "ask."
Q. Well, let me show you a document that has been previously marked as Government Exhibit 268. This is a document bearing Microsoft document production stamps M598 0110952 through 53.
Q.The first part of this purports to be a copy of an e-mail from Don Bradford to Ben Waldman with a copy to you, Mr. Maritz and others on the subject of "Java on Macintosh/IE Control."
12 Did you receive a copy of this e-mail or about February 13, 1998?
A. I don't know.
Q. Do you have any reason to doubt that you received a copy of this e-mail?
Q. The first paragraph reads, "Apple wants to keep both Netscape and Microsoft developing browsers for Mac -- believing if one drops out, the other will lose interest (and also not really wanting to pick up the development burden.) Getting Apple to do anything that significantly/materially disadvantages Netscape will be tough. Do agree that Apple should be meeting the spirit of our cross license agreement and that MacOffice is the perfect club to use on them."
Do you have an understanding of what Mr. Bradford means when he refers to MacOffice as the "perfect club to use on Apple"?
Q. The second sentence of that paragraph, the one that reads, "Getting Apple to do anything that significantly/materially disadvantages Netscape will be tough." Was it your understanding in February of 1998 that Microsoft was trying to get Apple to do something to disadvantage Netscape?
Q. Do you know why Mr. Bradford would have written this in February of 1998 and sent a copy to you?
A. I'm not sure.
Q. Did you ever say to Mr. Bradford in words or substance in February of 1998 or thereafter, "Mr. Bradford, you've got it wrong, we're not out to significantly or materially disadvantage Netscape through Apple"?
Q. Did you ever tell Mr. Bradford or anyone else in February, 1998 or thereafter, that they should not be trying to get Apple to do things that would significantly or materially disadvantage Netscape?