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Microsoft CEO still admired, says poll

Bill Gates' image isn't suffering much from the antitrust case brought against his company--laughter from the trial judge notwithstanding.

Microsoft chief executive Bill Gates' image apparently isn't suffering much from the antitrust case brought against his company--laughter from the trial judge notwithstanding.

Gates' favorability rating has dropped since the software giant went on trial to defend antitrust allegations, but the CEO still is well admired, according to a newly-released poll conducted for Business Week by Lou Harris & Associates.

Thirty-two percent of those surveyed had a generally favorable impression of Gates in November, down from 37 percent in June, the poll said. Eight percent had an unfavorable view of Gates in November--the same figure compiled for June.

Two percent of those surveyed viewed Gates as a "bully," while 28 percent see him as "brilliant," and another 32 percent see him as "entrepreneurial." Ten percent view billionaire Gates as "arrogant."

About 75 percent of those surveyed said their opinion of Gates has stayed the same during the trial. Six percent say it has worsened--and six percent say it has improved.

Forty seven percent of those polled say they think "the government is hampering Gates' ability to compete freely," while 34 percent think he has too much power in over the industry.

Although it has drawn laughter from the judge hearing the case, Gates' testimony apparently isn't being all that closely followed. Only 19 percent of those surveyed said they have heard about the case, and 16 percent have read about it.

Among Microsoft users, Gates' ratings typically are more favorable.