Microsoft's Bill Gates denied taking steps to dissuade Intel from developing Internet software but he did describe the chipmaker's software products as being of "low quality" and "incompatible" with Windows during his video-taped deposition in preparation for Microsoft's antitrust trial.
In a 15-minute segment of the videotape, Gates steadfastly rejected government claims that Microsoft attempted to press Intel to stick to hardware and stay away from the software trade. He also denied -- in a series of simple "No" answers accompanied by long pauses and his characteristic rocking -- that his company sought to keep Intel from aiding Microsoft's rivals, Sun and Netscape.
In segments of the deposition that Microsoft's attorneys requested be shown, Gates elaborated on what he recalled of Microsoft's contacts with Intel regarding software development.
The US Justice Department's outside counsel, David Boies, asked Gates during the August 28 deposition, "Did you or, to your knowledge, anyone at Microsoft, try to convince Intel that it should not engage in any software activity unless Microsoft was involved in that activity?"
Answered a more animated Gates: "I'm sure we pointed out sometimes how sometimes a lack of communications between the two vendors on various subjects including software development led to unfortunate unreliability and mismatch which led to bad customer experiences."
Boies then pressed Gates as to whether he or anyone at Microsoft told Intel officials that "they should leave the software side of the PC business entirely to Microsoft?"
"We were having a hard time coordinating our work with Intel, and we thought the quality of some of their work was very low as well as not working with any of our new Windows work," Gates replied. "We may have suggested at some point that the net contribution of their software activities could even be viewed as negative."