Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is to take the stand today in a surprise move by the software giant to bring a swift end to the ongoing antitrust case in the US.
His appearance marks a change in tactics for Microsoft's legal team, which had been thought reluctant to put Gates on the stand.
Earlier in the trial, Gates had chosen to give evidence via a videotaped deposition. After witnessing the tape, the trial judge, US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, described Gates as "arrogant" and "Napoleonic".
But Microsoft's legal team insists that Gates' appearance "underscores [Microsoft's] commitment to provide the court with all the information it needs".
Gates' decision to testify comes amid calls for tougher penalties to be levied on the firm branded an "illegal monopolist".
Earlier in the trial the software maker was found guilty of abusing its market leadership. A deal was reached with the Department of Justice that would require Microsoft to share some of the secrets of its Windows operating system.
But nine of the states that originally filed the complaint were unhappy at the proposed remedy.
Gates is now hoping that his testimony will persuade Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to avoid the harsher penalties, such as forcing Microsoft to produce cheaper, stripped down versions of its operating systems.
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