Tech Industry

Key antitrust players: Where did they go?

As the Microsoft antitrust trial has dragged on, some of the most influential people involved have moved on. From Marc Andreessen to original lead prosecutor David Boies: Where are they now?

Key players of antitrust trial: Where did they go?

By John Borland
Staff Writer, CNET
November 1, 2002, 3:00 p.m. PT

As the Microsoft antitrust trial has dragged on, some of the most influential people involved have moved on.

From Bill Gates and Marc Andreessen to original lead prosecutor David Boies, these are the people who started it all. But where are they now? Use the links below to navigate between profiles.

Jump to: Marc Andreessen - Jim Barksdale - David Boies - Joel Klein - Thomas Penfield Jackson - William Neukom - Paul Maritz

Bill Gates

As then-CEO and top decision-maker at Microsoft, Gates' influence was felt at every stage of the antitrust trial. This despite his actual absence; he declined to appear in court to testify in the first trial round, instead submitting videotaped depositions. That testimony appeared to help the government more than Microsoft. Repeating "I don't know" and "I don't recall," along with answers that frequently contradicted his own archived e-mails, drew criticism from the presiding judge.

Gates later took the stand to argue against the "remedy" proposed by attorneys general from nine states, after the company had settled with the U.S. Department of Justice.

In early 2000, Gates stepped down and handed the reins to second-in-command Steve Ballmer.

Gates retains the title of chairman and chief software architect, and remains Microsoft's most visible face at high-profile product launches such as the recent Windows Media 9 and MSN 8 events.

Marc Andreessen

Andreessen, chief technical officer and one of the founders of Netscape Communications, never testified directly at the Microsoft trial. But his notes of a 1995 meeting, at which he recorded an alleged Microsoft proposal to divide the Web browser market with Netscape, played a key role in the government's case. Microsoft disputed the offer was ever made, charging that Andreessen had "invented or imagined" the proposal.

When America Online purchased Netscape, Andreessen was one of the only top figures to stay on, taking the role of chief technical officer. He didn't last long; by late 1999, he had jumped ship and started Loudcloud, a Net infrastructure company.

Launched just as the dot-com mania began to wane, Loudcloud struggled to gain customers and credibility. Although it successfully went public in 2001 and remains in business, the company recently dropped its Web hosting and infrastructure business to focus on Web site management software, renaming itself Opsware.

Jim Barksdale

As CEO of Netscape, the company that saw its command of the Web browser market eviscerated by Microsoft, Barksdale was a key witness on the stand, testifying that indeed, Microsoft had proposed dividing the browser market at a critical 1995 meeting.

"I was a witness to it, and you weren't," he said as Microsoft attorneys questioned Netscape's version of the events.

Barksdale helped broker the sale of Netscape to America Online in late 1998, and left the company shortly after the deal closed the next year. He formed his own venture capital firm, called the Barksdale Group, with three other partners.

That group disbanded in April of this year, and Barksdale went on to , a private equity investment firm.

David Boies
As lead prosecutor for the government's case against Microsoft, Boies was brutal. He'd been long familiar with high-stakes cases; indeed, his role in a legal spat between oil giants Texaco and Pennzoil helped win him the cover of The New York Times Magazine more than a decade ago. But Microsoft brought him a new round of acclaim, as he tied the Redmond, Wash., witnesses in knots, leading Gates to accuse him of trying to "destroy Microsoft."

That was just one in a string of superstar trials for Boies. He went on to represent Napster against the recording industry, arguing--ultimately unsuccessfully--that the company had not broken any copyright laws and that the record labels themselves might be violating antitrust laws. He reached still new heights representing former Vice President Al Gore in front of the Supreme Court in his attempt to have the Florida 2000 election results favoring George Bush overturned.

Boies is no less busy these days. He's leading an internal investigation at Tyco International, looking at--among other things--whether that company's former chief executive improperly used company funds. In June he filed a lawsuit against radio giant Clear Channel on behalf of a Spanish-language broadcaster.

Joel Klein

As head of the Department of Justice's antitrust division, Klein was the architect of the government's early strategy against Microsoft. His was the voice that announced the government's proposal to split the company into separate divisions, respectively selling the Windows operating system and applications such as Office.

In January 2001, Klein took a position at the head of the U.S. division of German media conglomerate Bertelsmann. It was a symbolic reunion, if not an actual one; by that time, one of Bertelsmann's most visible ventures was its support of Napster, which was represented by former Klein legal ally David Boies.

Klein never played a visible role at the head of the company's U.S. operations, however. In July of this year, he left to take a role as chancellor of the New York City public school system.

Thomas Penfield Jackson

Judge Jackson was a colorful figure throughout much of the first round of Microsoft's antitrust trial, presiding with ill-disguised irritation at the company's legal strategies. He ultimately ruled almost wholly in the government's favor, saying that Microsoft had violated antitrust law and should be broken up.

But it was his own conduct that helped undermine the ruling. Jackson gave repeated interviews to the media, including several in which he compared Microsoft's actions to a drug-dealing gang, and Bill Gates to Napoleon.

In the ruling overturning Jackson's decision, the appeals court largely upheld his take on the law. But the court also removed Jackson from the case, saying that "the actions of the trial judge seriously tainted the proceedings before the district court and called into question the integrity of the judicial process."

Jackson remains on the bench, occasionally showing up in other high-profile trials. In April, for example, he ruled that the country of Iran should pay six U.S. military men damages of $307 million stemming from an airline hijacking in 1985.

William Neukom

As Microsoft's top lawyer since its days as a start-up, Neukom's fingerprints have been on the company's legal blueprints from the beginning. His position during the trial was largely an oversight role; trial attorneys went head-to-head with David Boies in court.

After early losses, his team successfully negotiated a settlement with the Department of Justice that left most of the company's core business untouched.

He announced his retirement from Microsoft in November 2001, and left the company in July to return to Preston Gates & Ellis, the Seattle law firm he left to join Microsoft in 1985.

Paul Maritz

As a vice president at Microsoft, Maritz's role in the antitrust trial in large part revolved around a quote he may never have actually said. According to a senior Intel executive, Maritz said Microsoft planned to "cut off Netscape's air supply." The quote became a central, oft-cited part of the government's case.

In written testimony, Maritz denied the phrase was his. Microsoft attorneys called the Intel executive a "prima donna" with an agenda. Whatever the truth, the quote earned the ordinarily soft-spoken Maritz an enduring place in technology history.

He left the company in September 2000 as part of a wave of high-level executive defections. Since then, he has served as a director and investor in a handful of other companies.