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For immediate release
April 25, 2002
Contact: Jenny Lawhorn,
Laura Gross,
NPR: 202.513.2304,

Bill Gates Discusses Court Testimony in Exclusive Interview with NPR's Tavis Smiley

LOS ANGELES, CA - Microsoft chairman Bill Gates reflects on his recent court testimony and whether he thinks Microsoft made mistakes or broke the law in an exclusive interview on The Tavis Smiley Show from NPR® that will air in two parts on Friday, April 25 and Monday, April 29.

The NPR interview with Tavis Smiley is the first Gates has given since his testimony in US District Court concluded yesterday. During the interview, Smiley asked Gates if he was prepared to admit that Microsoft made mistakes and broke the law. He also asked Gates about his testimony in US District court - how he thinks he did, and why he chose to testify.

"I was glad to get a chance to go talk about Microsoft and the PC industry, and the things that have really allowed it to work extremely well," said Gates. "This is a court that's considering a serious case, and one of the things I think it's important for them to understand is how the industry works as they go through their deliberations. And I felt good that I got a chance to articulate that, and, you know, cross-examination is an interesting thing. But I think the story came through quite well."

Asked if he thinks Microsoft made mistakes or broke the law, Gates said, "well we certainly accept the court of appeals ruling, and we're moving forward, understanding that that's something that we acknowledge, and there are changes related to that. Obviously in everything Microsoft does we're always learning. We can look back and be very proud of the things we've done well. But we also have to be a company that, whether it's doing better products or how we work with our customers, we've got to be willing to say, based on the feedback we get, hey let's do better at that thing. And that's really been the success of Microsoft-the willingness to look toward the future, and there's a lot of opportunities as we are doing better with everything."

Gates also discussed Microsoft's recent opening of corporate accounts at a number of Black-and minority-owned banks, announcing that Microsoft is stepping up money it invests in those institutions.

Gates told Smiley that that his philanthropic activities are "another case where I'm learning as I'm going…. The health story is also going to be a long-term focus for us because as I've gone around the world particularly to the poorer countries in both Asia and Africa, the degree of need there and the lack of attention to it, particularly the AIDS crisis, is really horrific, and I don't think in the United States we see enough how we should be helping out there."

During the portion of the interview that will air on Monday, April 29, Gates tells Smiley that he admires the new iMAC and talks about what he does on his own computer. "This morning I woke up a little early, and so I indulged myself playing a little online bridge. And I've got friends around the country, a lot who are actually mostly better bridge players than I am. But the fact that you connect up and chat with them and things like that... It's a neat application. It shows how it's a tool that's about social things as well as the computer power that's there."

Asked by Smiley if his bridge game needs a little work, Gates says, "oh absolutely. It's very humbling. Partly because I get a chance to play with people who really know what they're doing."

In the interview, Gates also discusses the "digital divide" and its future impact on low income and minority children. Smiley also asks Gates to describe what ways personally and professionally he feels he has not been successful, and what he hopes to do differently in the future.

Gates's interview will air on The Tavis Smiley Show from NPR on Friday, April 26 and Monday, April 29. The Tavis Smiley Show from NPR, a daily one-hour magazine that engages national radio audiences with new voices and fresh perspectives, premiered on January 7, 2002 and now reaches listeners through 20 public radio stations, including WNYE and WNYC New York, WHYY Philadelphia, WEAA Baltimore, KTSU Houston and WCLK Atlanta. Listeners can find local broadcast times or listen the program on the Web at Audio from the show is available online daily after 12:00 P.M. EST.

NPR, renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming, serves a growing audience of nearly 20 million Americans each week via more than 680 public radio stations. NPR Online at brings hourly newscasts, news features, commentaries and live events to Internet users through original online reports, audio streaming and other multimedia elements. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwide, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.