U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman ruled this afternoon that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be deposed in the ongoing Windows Vista Capable class action lawsuit. He must be deposed within 30 days and plaintiffs attorneys will have up to three hours with Microsoft’s top executive.
Microsoft issued the following statement:
“We will of course comply with the court’s order. Mr. Ballmer’s knowledge about the Windows Vista Capable program comes from the executives he empowered to run the program and make decisions, and two of those executives already testified in this case.”
The parties have tussled over whether Ballmer would testify. Plaintiffs are interested in a phone call Ballmer had with Intel CEO Paul Otellini on the day that Microsoft decided to drop a requirement of its Vista Capable marketing program that would allow PC makers to sell machines using older Intel hardware and mark them as Vista Capable.
The move was a relief to Intel, which had asked Microsoft to stick to its original planned June 1 start date for the marketing program, giving Intel and PC makers more time to sell soon-to-be-obsolete inventory. Microsoft had moved the date to April 1, which put Intel in a bind. Instead of reverting to the original start date, however, Microsoft decided to drop the so called Windows Device Driver Model requirement.