Gates to shareholders: we will win

Gates to shareholders: we will win

Microsoft's Bill Gates tried to assure a hall full of supportive stockholders last week that the vendor will win its antitrust case against the US Department of Justice, on appeal if not in the current trial.

"You have to ask, is this case being brought on behalf of consumers? Do they want to pay for a browser, or do they want to have it come as part of an operating system?" Gates asked the attendees of Microsoft's annual meeting. "There is an effort here to advance the interests of a handful of competitors over the interests of consumers and the economy."

Gates and other Microsoft officials repeatedly referred to a June ruling by the US Court of Appeals in Washington, which overturned the trial judge's ruling on integrating Internet Explorer with Windows.

The appeals court called the move a "benefit" to consumers. Although US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson has repeatedly made rulings against Microsoft and has displayed impatience with the company's lawyers in court, the appeals court has been much friendlier to the company.

The spin Gates put on the trial, which recently has featured video clips of his August deposition, was that the government has tried to block Microsoft's product innovation and, that failing, now has brought in a host of the vendor's most bitter rivals to testify about alleged strong-arm tactics and sabotage, charges he called "simply untrue".

"In the end I am confident that the government will protect Microsoft's right to innovate, because in the end that is what everybody wants," Gates said.

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