The Bill Gates Show, Part II

  • Share
  • Read Later
WASHINGTON: More of Bill Gatesís videotaped testimony dribbled out Monday, as government antitrust lawyers opened up yet another front against the software giant. This time, the subject was Intel -- and the now-familiar blurry image of the billionaire was seen denying an attempt to muscle the chip-makers out of the software business. The feds are concerned about a meeting in August 1995 (when Microsoft appears to have been on something of a rampage, given the alleged Netscape shakedown that came a month before). Gates met with Andy Grove at Intelís campus, intent on persuading his opposite number to drop development of Native Signal Processing, a multimedia technology that would supersede and clash with the soon-to-be-launched Windows 95.

The question is: Just how persuasive was Gates? To hear the Microsoft boss tell it, he was doing his old pal Andy a favor: "Intel was wasting its money by writing low-quality software that created incompatibilities," Gates says with a shrug on the video. Groveís account sounds a little more ominous: "We basically caved," he told Fortune magazine later that year. "Lifeís too short" to introduce software that Microsoft doesnít support, he added. Throw in a 1995 memo written by Intel VP Steven McGeady, the governmentís latest witness, in which "Gates made vague threats of support for other platforms," and you have allegations strikingly similar to those leveled by Apple and Netscape. Whatever the final outcome, Redmond will find it hard to shake the mafiosi image.