Judge: Gates a Napoleon

ByABC News
January 8, 2001, 10:57 AM

W A S H I N G T O N, Jan. 8 -- The federal judge who ordered Microsoft split in two last year compares Bill Gates to Napoleon even musing that the company founder should be required to write a book report on him and said Microsoft executives behave like children.

I think he has a Napoleonic concept of himself and hiscompany, an arrogance that derives from power and unalloyedsuccess, with no leavening hard experience, no reverses, JudgeThomas Penfield Jackson says of Gates in the Jan. 8 issue of TheNew Yorker.

Of company officials, Jackson says, They dont act likegrown-ups!

Retreading the Antitrust Trail

The story recounts the failed mediation that followed his rulingin November 1999 that the company was an illegal monopoly. Jacksonalso said he had mistrusted the company since finding it hadviolated a 1995 consent decree.

Jackson ordered Microsoft split in two on June 7. The company isappealing that order before the U.S. Court of Appeals for theDistrict of Columbia. The government is expected to file its briefby Friday, with oral arguments in the landmark antitrust case setfor late February.

Jackson said Microsofts lead attorney, William Neukom, is notvery smart, or at least I dont think he has any subtlety.Neukom, he said, should have advised the company that the timehas come for us to be flexible.

By contrast, the governments chief litigator, David Boies, wasthe best lawyer ever to appear in his courtroom, Jackson said.

Claims of BiasIn its appeal, filed in November, Microsoft said the interviewsJackson has given are evidence that he is biased against thecompany. (See related story.) Jackson gave a newspaper interview rare for a federaljudge immediately after ordering Microsofts breakup on June 7,in which he said he had little choice but to accept thegovernments breakup proposal.

By repeatedly commenting on the merits of the case in thepress, the companys brief argued, the district judge has casthimself in the publics eye as a participant in the controversy,thereby compromising the appearance of impartiality, if notdemonstrating actual bias against Microsoft.