Ballmer earlier issued a statement saying that he was not involved in the case, instead naming two other Microsoft managers, both of whom have since left the company, as the prime movers in the Vista Capable campaign.
However, in a court ruling Judge Marsha Pechman said that Ballmer must testify within the next 30 days over his involvement in the marketing campaign, saying that documents released by Microsoft showed that Ballmer had had conversions with Intel’s chief executive Paul Otellini about the campaign.
“Plaintiffs have met their burden in demonstrating Mr. Ballmer may have relevant, unique personal knowledge of relevant facts,” she said.
“Microsoft concedes Mr. Ballmer discussed the technical requirements of Vista Capable with Mr. Otellini and relayed those concerns to other members of the management. The Court appreciates that there are severe demands on Mr. Ballmer’s time; however, a busy schedule cannot “shield” an executive from discovery.”
The ruling is a blow to Microsoft’s earlier plea that the case be denied class action status and dropped.
If the court finds against Microsoft the financial hit to the company could be huge. Businesses and individuals who bought Vista Capable hardware could be eligible for damages up to the cost of the equipment with a possible fine for Redmond on top of that.
Ballmer to testify in Vista Capable case
By Iain Thomson on Nov 25, 2008 3:39PM