Facebook, Amazon and Google Emails Make an Antitrust Case

By Joe Nocera, Bloomberg

In the late 1990s, when David Boies 1 prosecuted the Microsoft antitrust trial, he told me that despite the thousands of documents, emails and deposition transcripts that were rolled into court each day, no more than 50 were the key to the government’s case. He memorized them and knew right where to find them if he needed them in the middle of a cross-examination.

Of those 50, maybe two dozen were the kind you just don’t forget — bald, vivid illustrations of what the government hoped to prove: that Microsoft was using its monopoly power to squeeze Netscape, the upstart browser company that Microsoft viewed as a potential threat to its Windows monopoly.

“How much do we need to pay you to screw Netscape?” Microsoft founder Bill Gates asked, according to an email recapping a meeting with AOL executives. (He added, “This is your lucky day.”)

In another email, Gates suggested that Microsoft offer Intuit “something like $1M … in return for switching browsers” from Netscape to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

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