PJ Cabrera - 2005-11-03

Bill Gates antitrust deposition for sale on eBay

An eBay seller is hawking a little piece of Silicon Valley history -- an 11-DVD set of Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Architect Bill Gates' 1998 deposition recorded shortly before the U.S. Department of Justice brought its antitrust lawsuit against his company.

According to the posting for the item, listed under the title "the Bill Gates triumph valley pirates nerds of silicon," the DVDs include more than 17 hours of footage of "un-rehearsed and uncensored Bill Gates answering hundreds of probing questions before the United States Government."

The listing for the DVDs can be found at:


"This will reveal to you a deep view into the mind of Bill Gates," according to the posting. "Some of what he says will make you laugh, some will make you angry and much will enlighten you. Excellent material for learning, or research for the future Bill Gates business-person, and a clear and unprecedented understanding of the man behind the corporate giant known as Microsoft."

The seller of the item -- which is listed as being located in Little Rock, Arkansas -- goes by the e-Bay user name of "true-view" but his real name is Dave Mitchell, according to an e-mail sent to a mailing list alerting people of the e-Bay auction.

"[I] wanted to let you know I'm finally selling my 11-disc DVD set of Bill Gates' 1998 video deposition," he wrote in the e-mail. "This was recorded shortly before Microsoft was declared an illegal monopoly."

The auction started on Oct. 29 and runs until Nov. 5. Mitchell set the starting bid at US$60; at press time, there were no bids for the item.

Gates' original video-taped deposition, which was played in court during the antitrust case, elicited laughter from U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who was presiding over the case. Media reports at the time said the video showed Gates in an unfavorable light, as he appeared uncooperative and petulant under interrogation.

Gates' video-taped deposition also was made public to media outlets, many of whom posted video clips and transcribed excerpts on their Web sites. Clips from the deposition are still available on the Web in media archives, and in hard-copy form at libraries.

Mitchell did not respond to requests for an interview.