The Active Network


Bios of Key Microsoft Trial Figures

By The Associated Press,

Three key figures in the Microsoft antitrust trial:

-U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, 62, former Navy officer and now a weekend sailor with a 33-foot sloop he owns with two others. Lives in Georgetown and sometimes walks the 20 blocks to the courthouse. Republican appointed in 1982 by President Reagan. A fixture in the case against Microsoft since 1995, when he approved the settlement in the first government lawsuit against the company. An important ruling he made against Microsoft in December 1997 was overturned by an appeals court, which said he had overstepped his authority. Wasn't shy during trial testimony about interrupting lawyers to ask questions of witnesses, but chastised reporters for reading too much into his comments. Occasionally lost his temper toward witnesses and lawyers, openly laughed at videotape of Bill Gates' deposition. Sometimes appeared to struggle to stay awake. Doesn't particularly understand the latest computer technology - needed a lengthy explanation about how to download and install software from the Internet. Not a big fan of the press, although he regularly read trial coverage and one of his two grown daughters is a news service reporter.

-Bill Gates, 44, Microsoft's famous chief executive officer and the world's richest person, worth an estimated $85 billion. Started using computers at age 13 at Lakeside prep school in Seattle. Co-founded Microsoft in 1975 shortly after he dropped out of Harvard University. By 1991, vast majority of world's personal computers relied on Microsoft's operating system software. Hyper-competitive, short-tempered and a hands-on boss, sometimes called intolerant of mistakes. Quirky personal habit of rocking in his chair while excited or deep in thought. Chose not to appear as a witness in his company's antitrust trial, though he has testified in other courtroom proceedings. In his deposition, he jousted with government lawyers over almost every question, appeared evasive and forgetful of key events and e-mails: ``I'm not sure what I was thinking in particular when I wrote this mail, but I can, sitting here now, I can give you some reasons that I think I would have had for saying that,'' he said. Married in 1994 to former Microsoft employee, two children. Last year promoted Steve Ballmer, a hard-charging friend from his poker-playing days at Harvard, to president of Microsoft to take off some pressure.

-David Boies, 58, amiable private antitrust lawyer hired by the Justice Department as its lead litigator. Yale Law School. Initially agreed to half his $250 hourly rate then agreed to flat $104,000 a year. Prefers inexpensive Navy blue suits, black sneakers with black shoelaces. Wore the same blue tie nearly every day of the trial. Works without notes. Remarkable memory. Came into case without great grasp of computer technology - he stumbled badly when the judge asked him how digital video ``streams'' across the Internet - but later competently questioned witnesses about technically arcane subjects like Java programming language and dynamic link libraries in software design. Frequently incorrectly called world's largest Internet provider ``American Online'' and once mispronounced ``log in'' as ``lojun,'' drawing snickers from the courtroom. Favorite technique of asking Microsoft witnesses seemingly innocent questions then confronting them with e-mails or other documents - often written by themselves - that appear to contradict their testimony. ``You don't remember that, do you, sir? You're just making that up right now, aren't you?'' he challenged one Microsoft witness, who afterward stammered, ``I stand corrected.'' Represented IBM in its 13-year antitrust case against the Justice Department, once cross-examined a Justice economist in that case for 38 days. Currently partner in Boies & Schiller in Armonk, N.Y., most recently represented comedian Gary Shandling in $100 million lawsuit against former manager, which the sides settled.


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