Microsoft chairman Bill Gates was unconcerned by the Department of Justice?s investigation into his company?s business practices, claimed Steven McGeady, vice president of Intel?s content group, in court.
On Tuesday, Microsoft attorneys began cross examination of McGeady, who had said in direct testimony that Microsoft had pressured the chip giant to drop its Native Signal Processing (NSP) technology and not to support Sun?s Java.
McGeady also claimed Bill Gates, in a meeting at Intel?s headquarters, had said the company did not intend to change its business practices because of the DoJ?s antitrust investigations.
?This antitrust thing will blow over," Gates said in a meeting in July 1995, according to McGeady, who took notes of the meeting. The Microsoft chairman added: ?We haven?t changed our business practices at all."
This statement was allegedly made just before the consent decree between Microsoft and the DoJ, settling earlier antitrust complaints, was officially approved by the court in August 1995.
This apparent disregard for antitrust procedures mirrors testimony from Apple's senior vice president Avie Tevanian, earlier in the trial.
According to Tevanian, Microsoft, in a series of meetings with Apple in late 1997 and up to June 1998, proposed a deal to divide the multimedia software market. This allegedly went on while the DoJ was preparing its complaint against Microsoft, accusing the company of making a very similar market dividing offer to Netscape.
According to McGeady, Microsoft was displeased with Intel?s ventures into software and wanted Intel to disband the Intel Architecture Lab, where about 700 engineers worked on NSP software, designed to improve the multimedia performance of Intel processors.
In a meeting with Intel in August 1995, Gates threatened to cut off support for MMX, the set of multimedia instructions that Intel was adding to its Pentium processors, if Intel didn?t shut down the labs, according to McGeady. He added that Intel succumbed and killed the NSP project.
McGeady also said that Microsoft did not want Intel to support the Java programming language from Sun.
Microsoft tried to paint a different picture in cross-examination on Tuesday. Its lawyers suggested that NSP was badly designed and would not work well with Windows 95, potentially harming mutual customers. According to Microsoft, McGeady is bent on revenge because he blames the MS for the termination of his pet project.
One of the key revelations from McGeady?s testimony is that the relationship between Microsoft and Intel in 1995 and 1996 was far less friendly than often believed.
Intel itself has been accused of antitrust violations by the FTC.
The court will reconvene on Thursday, after a one-day interruption for Veterans Day.
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