Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, November 2, 2001.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, the news this week has earned Microsoft chairman Bill Gates more than $2 billion, but he's out about $32 billion since Microsoft stock hit its high about two years ago. And his chief executive officer, Steve Ballmer, is about $840 million richer since word of the settlement first leaked out.

Earlier I spoke to the world's richest man and asked him if he feels like he just dodged a bullet.


BILL GATES, CHAIRMAN, MICROSOFT: Well, I feel like we've reached a fair and reasonable settlement, and although it's very extensive and its rules and regulation, it takes the uncertainty of what might have come out of a court case and gives us the guidelines that let's us move forward, let's us build new products and make the software better.

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CAVUTO: Do you think that state attorneys general are going to go along?

GATES: I'm very hopeful they will. The attorney general and Mr. James spoke this morning about their hopes that the states would join in the settlement. There'll be a hearing in front of the judge on Tuesday where the states will report back.

CAVUTO: Now, there are indications, at least from a couple of initially, as you know, Mr. Gates, that they thought you got off lightly. Assure them that you did not.

GATES: Well, the agreement is very extensive. We've got a technical advisory committee that has three members that will be in at Microsoft, looking at the source code, looking at the disclosures that we do. There's a lot in this about the way we design products, the way we license products. And you know, we really address the concerns that were raised by the appeals court.

We have aspects in here like the protocol disclosure that even go beyond anything that came up in the Court of Appeals.

CAVUTO: But still, I mean, you must be feeling pretty vindicated here. I mean, the punishment not nearly as horrible as some of you guys had feared at the outset, where they were going to break up your company or something like that. This appears to be a slap on the wrist.

GATES: Well, what we have here is quite extensive. We're very pleased to have the uncertainty behind us. The attorney general and the staff of the head of the antitrust division, you know, worked hard to make sure there were clear guidelines that would take the concerns around our market success and make sure the right procedures were followed to create third-party opportunities while not choking off the kind of innovations that Microsoft can do and are very important for the PC industry moving forward.

CAVUTO: Does that mean...

GATES: So...

CAVUTO: I'm sorry, sir. But these three independent experts, who are going to be on site, apparently in Redmond, who get to see if you're complying with this, will they have free-and-clear access to everything you're doing, so if you're doing something wrong, they can say, "Mr. Gates, you're doing something wrong"?

GATES: Well, they have access to the new development work and to the source code. And anyone who wants to see additional disclosure will bring the matter in front of that group. They'll look at what we're doing, they'll give us advice, and we'll make sure that we behave totally to their satisfaction.

CAVUTO: Do you think that the change in administration, sort of Republican administration, benefited you? That the Bush Justice Department was less eager to go after you than was the Clinton Justice Department?

GATES: No, I think that the appeals court decision was a key milestone here. They narrowed the case in many areas. They left a number of things in the case that there were the concerns that had to be addressed in this negotiation process.

And so after that, a new judge was picked. She chose to set a very tight schedule and put a lot of pressure on the parties to settle the case. She brought in a mediator, did a very fine job on this, and really, it was that that drove the timeframe. And every one of the issues was still fully addressed.

CAVUTO: Let me ask you something, Mr. Gates: Do you think you did anything wrong?

GATES: Well, Microsoft has certainly acknowledged the kind of concerns that people have had about our success in the industry and how we exercise our industry leadership. What people want to see is the opportunities for the third parties. That's fully addressed here, and Microsoft is going to make this settlement a complete success.


CAVUTO: All right. That was Bill Gates. Microsoft stock today was down about 44 cents, to $61.40 a share.

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