The more we hear of Bill Gates' testimony in the antitrust case against Microsoft, the more ridiculous he seems. In today's embarrassing segment, the world's richest man managed to draw numerous chuckles from the audience watching the tape for the first time in court as he claimed not to understand what the phrase "pissing on" meant. It was a low moment in a testimony chock full of low moments.
Now I know how ABC News must have felt when it came time to air transcripts of Bill Clinton's testimony about Monica Lewinsky. Kind of.
Here's how it went. Gates was claiming to not understand why Sun had sued Microsoft over Java, saying that the problem had more to do with Sun's Java APIs (the so-called JFC). Boies then asked Gates about an e-mail sent to him from a Microsoft programmer that said, "\[Sun's Java Development Kit\] 1.2 has JFC, which we're going to be pissing on at every opportunity."
Gates: "I don't know if he's referring to pissing on JDK or JFC, nor do I specifically know what he means by 'pissing on.'"
This drew derisive laughter from just about everyone in court, including Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who has probably already penned his decision.
Another email that Gates received from the general manager of Microsoft's developer relations group said, "So we are just proactively trying to put obstacles in Sun's path, and get anyone that wants to write in Java to use JDirect \[a proprietary Microsoft extension to Java\] and target Windows directly."
Gates: "I don't know what that means."
Meanwhile, Sun's chief Java architect, James Gosling, took the stand in court on Wednesday. Gosling's testimony was released Tuesday night, and as you might expect, he's pretty critical of Microsoft.
"If Microsoft successfully fragments the Java technology, the cross-platform benefits to vendors, developers, and users of the Java technology will be damaged, and any threat the Java technology poses to Microsoft's dominant Windows operating system will be neutralized," he said. Gosling described Microsoft's extensions to Java as proprietary and dangerous. "This is analogous to adding to the English language words and phrases that cannot be understood by anyone else."
In court, Microsoft attorneys tried to get Gosling to admit that the Microsoft extensions to Java were more powerful than anything Sun offered and that Java would never live up to its "Write once, run anywhere" marketing mantra. Gosling admitted that slogan was only "one of many high-level goals of Java."
Gosling's cross examination will continue on Thursday