Microsoft chairman and CEO Bill Gates blasted the U.S. Department of Justice and its "lawsuit on behalf of Netscape" in a three page essay that will be published this week in the Economist magazine. Gates says that the government's case is flawed, since there are no laws against innovation.
"We are defending the legal right of every company to decide which features go into its own products,” Gates writes. "The law says that every company--from the smallest startups to the largest multinational--should always work to improve its products.”
One of the strangest allegations to come out of the government lawsuit is the claim that Microsoft offered to split the browser market with Netscape. Gates says this isn't true.
"\[We had a meeting\] to discuss various technologies Microsoft proposed sharing with Netscape, so that Netscape’s browser could take advantage of the cool new features we were developing for Windows 95,” Gates says. He shared an email from Netscape's Marc Andreessen, who described the meeting as Mafia-like: "“Good to see you again today--we should talk more often,” Andreessen's mail reads. That's an odd sentiment considering his recent take on the talks.
Gates also defended the Microsoft employee's email excerpts that the DOJ used to show that the company was going after its competitors in a predatory fashion.
“When you consider that Microsoft provided over a million pages of internal documents and e-mails, it is not surprising that the government has been able to find a handful of statements--many by relatively junior staffers--that can be taken out of context,” Gates writes in his essay.
Gates' essay appears in Saturday's Economist