So what have we learned two months into this decade's Trial of the Century? For one thing, if all the Justice Department had to do to win its antitrust case was to embarrass Microsoft, Bill Gates would be in Washington right now cutting a deal. The low-light of the trial so far has been videotaped testimony in which Gates pureed meaning in a manner that surely made that other legally troubled Bill envious. The Master of the Desktop came across as either unbelievably ignorant about his company's operations and the suit against it or as a possible perjurer. The betting was on the latter.
Of course, there have been some Micromoments as well, most notably when AOL announced it was buying Netscape. Microsoft immediately seized on this as proof that, in the rough-and-tumble world of software, you have to play rough sometimes or you will most certainly get tumbled. Further, Microsoft could now argue that it couldn't have a monopoly when faced with a giant competitor. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson was intrigued.
The best trial barometer is the market, where the serious bets are being placed on the trial's outcome. MSFT traded at around 104 on October 19, the beginning of the trial. Last Thursday, it closed at 138 11/16. Somewhere, Bill Gates is smiling.