AMD chairman Jerry Sanders said yesterday that he agreed to testify for Microsoft against the nine states' tougher antitrust proposals as a favour to Bill Gates, and that he did not know what the proposals were.
The first witness in the Microsoft case was cross examined at the court hearing about why he agreed to testify that the proposals would hurt the PC industry.
Sanders said that imposing the penalties recommended by the nine states would set the computer industry back 20 years. But he also admitted that he has not read the states' penalties himself.
When questioned by Howard Gutman, an attorney representing the states, Sanders explained that Gates asked him in a telephone call to testify and had referred to the proposed sanctions as "crazy".
Gutman asked: "You agreed without knowing what you could be testifying to other than the characterisation that Gates gave you?"
Sanders replied: "If there's no fragmentation in the remedies, my appearance here is irrelevant."
According to Sanders's testimony, after Gates's request he sought Microsoft's public support for AMD's next generation of chips, codenamed Hammer, which will add 64-bit extensions to the current 32-bit instruction set.
Sanders also said that he wanted Gates to withhold support for a competing chip from Intel. Microsoft has not yet announced support for either chipmaker's offerings.
Sanders testified that the phone call he received from Gates was only the third or fourth time he had ever spoken to the Microsoft chairman by telephone in his 33 years in the industry.
"We were hopeful that Microsoft could support AMD as the only remaining viable alternative to an Intel monopoly," he said.
On Monday, Microsoft asked Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to dismiss the states' case. The judge gave no indication as to when she would rule on the request.
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