Gates appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” last Tuesday when host Andrew Ross Sorkin asked him about how social media spread seduthing,media reported. Before the congressional hearing, Gates was also asked if he thought the technology industry needed more regulation. At the hearing, technology CEOs Mark Zuckerberg, Sandal Picchay, Tim Cook and Jeff Bezos testified about their company’s market position. Gates recalls his 1998 congressional hearing. “Of course it reminds me of the time I was at a congressional hearing,” Gates told Sorkin. “I bless them.”
Asked if there was enough competition in the tech world, Gates said he thought so. “I think the competition in the tech world will naturally be very, very intense over time, ” Gates said. “Now, I’m not saying that the authorities should do nothing, but I do think that people underestimate the competitive power of nature and do it. . . I think there will be a lot of innovation in technology, even without large-scale regulation. “
Given Microsoft’s history, Gates is familiar with antitrust scrutiny. In 1998, Gates appeared in Congress for a four-hour hearing. Gates testified with a group of his peers, including Scott McNeely, chairman of Sun Microsystems, Michael Dell, Netscape President Jim Barksdale, venture capitalist Stuart Althorp and software executive Doug Bergham. Gates argued at the time that the government could not limit innovation, and that Microsoft was leading the way in making America more tech-high.
But shortly after the hearing, the Justice Department sued Microsoft for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which prohibits attempts to monopolize the market. In Microsoft’s case, the U.S. Justice Department is reviewing Microsoft’s stranglehold on the software industry, which has been forcing PC makers to use Internet Explorer as the default browser for computers.
Although the judge initially ruled that Microsoft should be dissolved, the company appealed the decision and eventually reached a settlement with the court. The case eventually led to Gates’ retirement in 2000.
Gates told CNBC last year that the case was “bad for Microsoft” and “distracting” and disagreed with the court’s original decision. “I don’t think Microsoft should be disbanded, I’m against it, and I don’t want anyone to do that,” Gates said.