Gates: What, Me Worry?

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He's been held up to ridicule and effectively dubbed a liar in court - but Bill Gates is no less confident that Microsoft can win its antitrust case. "As our witnesses come forward, you will see the facts simply don't support the government's claim," the CEO told 2,000 shareholders Wednesday, who responded with a standing ovation. He could hardly tell them otherwise, of course. But this wasn't just optimistic bluster. The software titan, who three years ago told a group of Intel executives that "this antitrust thing will blow over," genuinely has nothing but disdain for the Justice Department. "That's been his line all the way through," says TIME legal correspondent Adam Cohen. "At no point has Gates taken the government's case seriously."

He may have to start soon. As the feds broadcast a seemingly limitless stock of quotes from Gates's videotaped testimony that are flatly contradicted by internal memos and e-mails, the Microsoft boss is fast becoming his own worst enemy. While Gates told the shareholders that the DOJ had "misused e-mail snippets to create a false impression," his lawyers have used none of their lengthy periods of cross-examination to offer a better context. And the combination of Gates's dismissive attitude and faulty memory won't go down well with the judge either, says Cohen: "You need to be deft in explaining why you don't remember something. I'm not sure his performance rises to that level." Microsoft may be earning stockholders a fat 62 cents per share - but if antitrust law kicks in, even the market will notice.