The Plaintiffs, represented by Roxanne Conlin, finally ended the longest opening statement in Iowa trial history (I am joking but I believe it to be true) in the consumer class action case against Microsoft. Microsoft’s lead trial attorney, David Tulchin of Sullivan & Cromwell said he felt like he had waited a long time to give his opening statement and he "probably wasn’t waiting all that patiently at times."
Tulchin said the real issues are not complicated.
"This case is about the quality of the products. It is about value. It is about prices, and it’s about causation. Was there anything from the government case or the allegations made here by the Plaintiffs that caused the market to be so different from what it otherwise would have been that prices would have been dramatically different from the very low prices that Microsoft charged?"
He said Plaintiffs experts have created an imaginary "but-for" world; that is, a world that they say would have existed but for the conduct they claim was wrongful.
Tulchin also touched on the history of Microsoft from the very early days when Bill Gates and Paul Allen set out to improve the Basic language for the first minicomputer.
"And Mr. Gates’ idea right from the start, right from the start in the 1970s was to charge a low price for software, a low price with the hope–with the basic idea that a low price would generate high sales. It is not a new idea. . .it goes back to Fredrick Maytag in Iowa with the washing machine. Make a good product, keep the price low, and you’ll sell lots of them and do well."
It sounds as though Tulchin will continue his opening over the next few days. It appears as though he plans on hammering the Plaintiffs for providing only "little snippets" of data or documents for the jury to see which do not tell the whole story. It is apparent Tulchin is a fine lawyer. His bio indicates he has won dismissals with prejudice in 20 major antitrust actions against Microsoft, and victories in all seven appeals he has argued for Microsoft in the United States Courts of Appeals.
This is shaping up to be an interesting trial on so many fronts. Best of all, it is practically a class on juror persuasion. Stay tuned for more as the trial progresses.