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Bill Gates gives first day of testimony in Novell-WordPerfect trial

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates found himself answering questions in a court of law today. The Associated Press (via Google) reports that Gates came to Salt Lake City, Utah to testify in the current case between Microsoft and Novell. As we have reported before, Novell has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, claiming that Microsoft deliberately delayed the release of its Windows 95 operating system in the 1990s in order "to suppress the sales of WordPerfect and Novell's related office productivity applications."

In his testimony today, Gates said that Microsoft dumped an unnamed feature from Windows 95 because of fears that it would crash the operating system. This deleted feature would have allowed Novell's WordPerfect to operate in Windows 95. Gates said that the company had to make "trade-offs" in order for Windows 95 to work. Gates also said of Windows 95's development, "We worked super hard. It was the most challenging, trying project we had ever done." Gates also claimed that Microsoft's own Word program was ranked to be better than WordPerfect by 1994, calling it an "important win" for the company. Gates is expected to continue his testimony on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Frederick Motz also decided to deny Microsoft's motion on Friday to dismiss the case entirely, calling the claim groundless. Novell still maintains that Microsoft tried to muscle out WordPerfect and claim a monopoly on the word processor business with Microsoft Word. It is asking for between $500 million to $1.2 billion in its lawsuit against Microsoft.

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