SAN MATEO (04/04/2000) - Bill Gates tomorrow will travel to Capitol Hill and the White House, just as the Microsoft Corp. antitrust case moves into the penalty phase and becomes increasingly political.
A source at the Republican Caucus confirmed that Gates will speak to select members of Congress on Wednesday morning.
But few details on the meeting were available, including whether or not Gates' trip was planned before or in reaction to Monday's ruling. U. S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson on Monday delivered his long-awaited ruling by handing out his conclusions of law and order which found that that Microsoft violated federal antitrust laws.
However, sources indicated that House Republican Conference Chairman Rep. J.C.
Watts, from Oklahoma, and Rep. Jennifer Dunn, a Republican from Washington, helped organize the visit. Dunn's congressional district is adjacent to the district that includes Microsoft's Redmond campus. Rep. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, represents Microsoft's district.
"It is my understanding that he has something on the Hill and something planned at the White House," said Jonathan Zuck, president of Washington-based Association for Competitive Technology (ACT).
Zuck said the visit likely was planned in advance of the ruling, given the complicated logistics necessary to organize such high-profile meetings.
"But the case may very well come up. The remedies phase of the case will become intensely political, while the liability phase of the case was largely a judicial matter," Zuck said.
The White House and Capitol Hill could easily play a role in whatever prescriptions float out of the Department of Justice, Zuck said. ACT has been a supporter of Microsoft throughout the trial.
Microsoft Corp. is at www.microsoft.com.
Jennifer Jones is an InfoWorld senior editor.