Insufficient Memory

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Who'd have thought Bill Gates has a memory problem? In the two hours of Gates's 20-hour video deposition shown in court Monday, the Microsoft chairman appears unable to recall anything about critical e-mail messages he sent to subordinates concerning Apple, Sun and other competitors. Antitrust prosecutors used the tapes to prep the court for Wednesday's appearance by Apple exec Avadis Tevanian, hoping that Gates's performance will cast a shadow over his corporation's motives: "A lot of this trial comes down to the perception of whether or not a monopoly played within the rules and used its market share in an appropriate way," says TIME correspondent Adam Cohen. "The video testimony hurt Microsoft because it presented their CEO in an unflattering light -- the government wanted to paint Gates as an unsympathetic character, and for that purpose there's nothing like having him up onscreen doing things the audience can evaluate."

By turns defiant, evasive and testy -- though never openly hostile -- Gates conceded little to government attorney David Boies' attempts to prove that Microsoft had a pattern of using its market dominance to bully potential competitors, although his memory lapses and evasions sounded hard to believe. You'd have to score this round a gritty draw -- making the video unlikely to fly off the shelves at Blockbuster.