Bill Gates may testify at Microsoft antitrust hearing in March |

Bill Gates may testify at Microsoft antitrust hearing in March

LOU KESTEN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bill Gates is among 13 Microsoft executives on the company’s final witness list for its March trial on antitrust charges.

Gates, chairman of the software firm, did not appear in court during Microsoft’s earlier antitrust trial, although excerpts from a videotaped deposition were played. The judge in that trial, U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, declared Microsoft a monopoly in 1999 and ordered its breakup in 2000.

Last year, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly took over the case and the Bush administration announced it would no longer seek a breakup of Microsoft. The Justice Department and nine of the states suing Microsoft reached a settlement with the company, but nine other states and the District of Columbia rejected the deal and chose to continue pursuing the antitrust litigation.

Among the 35 names on Microsoft’s witness list, which it released over the weekend to the non-settling states, are Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer and a number of non-Microsoft witnesses that include W.J. Sanders III, CEO of chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices; Howard Elias, vice president of computer manufacturer Compaq; and Philip Schoonover, vice president of the electronics retail chain Best Buy.

Another is Ken Glueck, vice president of the business software publisher Oracle. Microsoft has called Glueck “one of the prime movers behind the non-settling states’ remedial proposals.”

“The witnesses represent a broad range of companies, small businesses and consumers that are part of the PC industry and would be harmed if the states’ proposals are adopted,” said Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler.

The nine states that did not sign on to the Justice Department’s settlement are Iowa, California, Connecticut, West Virginia, Utah, Minnesota, Kansas, Florida and Massachusetts. Kollar-Kotelly also plans to review that settlement in March.

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