Microsoft witness admits to seeking favour

Microsoft’s first witness in its antitrust case admitted that he had asked Bill Gates for a favour when he agreed to testify. Jerry Sanders, CEO of chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), then added that he hadn’t read the proposal from the nine states suing Microsoft that he was testifying about.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  April 17, 2002

Microsoft’s first witness in its antitrust case admitted that he had asked Bill Gates for a favour when he agreed to testify. Jerry Sanders, CEO of chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), then added that he hadn’t read the proposal from the nine states suing Microsoft that he was testifying about.

The states’ attorney, Howard Gutman, told the court that when Gates called Sanders to ask for his testimony, Sanders asked Microsoft to announce its support for AMD’s chip technology ahead of a rival product from Intel.

“Mr. Gates said he would talk to his people about that?” Gutman asked in reference to a phone call from Gates to Sanders on February 8.

“Yes,” replied Sanders. “I asked Mr. Gates to hold Intel to the same standard he held us to.”

Gates also told Sanders that the states’ proposals were “crazy” and that they would fragment the Windows operating system. Sanders’s written testimony followed this line and argued that the computer standards that had formed around Microsoft’s operating system had greatly benefited consumers.

However, Gutman challenged the basis of Sanders’s assertions.

“You’ve never checked to this day whether what Mr. Gates told you... was true in the remedies,” he asserted. Sanders agreed that he had not read the proposals.

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