Burst Attorney Deposes Bill Gates on Anticompetitive Case

By Brian Witte  |  Posted 2004-08-31 Print this article Print

An attorney for a software company suing Microsoft for alleged anticompetitive behavior deposed Bill Gates last week and plans to ask a judge to make the testimony public.

BALTIMORE (AP)—An attorney for a software company suing Microsoft Corp. for alleged anticompetitive behavior deposed Bill Gates last week and plans to ask a judge to make the testimony public. Spencer Hosie, who is representing Burst.com, deposed Gates for three hours Thursday at the software giants Redmond, Wash., headquarters. Hosie said he intends to file a motion this week with U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz in Baltimore to unseal the deposition and to request more time with the Microsoft chairman. "I want at least that much again," Hosie said in a telephone interview.
Burst alleges that Microsoft stole its multimedia software after breaking off talks with Burst on a joint project.
Hosie said he couldnt comment in detail about the deposition because its under seal. However, he said the deposition was of public import and that "we shouldnt have secret justice in this country." Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake said she couldnt comment in detail, because of the protective order. But she said its not uncommon for Gates and other Microsoft executives to give depositions. Hosie also has filed a motion relating to the alleged destruction of electronic mail by Microsoft employees. Because of a protective court order, Burst had to file it under seal. Hosie said he was trying to unseal that, too. Burst, based in Santa Rosa, Calif., sued Microsoft in June 2002 alleging Microsoft developed its own multimedia software for moving audio and video more quickly over the Internet after discussing the technology for months with Burst. Burst is seeking unspecified damages, claiming theft and anticompetitive behavior by Microsoft, which allegedly shut out competitors through exclusive deals and other practices that took advantage of its dominant Windows operating system. Microsoft contends it did nothing wrong. In May, Motz ordered Microsoft to search for evidence that a vice president told employees in 2000 to destroy e-mails. That order directed Microsoft to search a legal department computer, a server, and backup tapes, as well as question Microsoft lawyers about the e-mail from James Allchin, Hosie said at the time.

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