As word spread worldwide last week that a US judge had ordered Microsoft to "cease and desist" the practice of requiring PC manufacturers to preinstall Internet Explorer if they want to license Windows 95, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates was not in the loop.
Gates spent the morning meeting with officials and students at Qinghua University in Beijing, where he is wrapping up a two-day visit.
As Gates addressed students during a presentation in a Qinghua University auditorium this morning, Computerworld Hong Kong asked Bryan Nelson, regional director of Microsoft Greater China who was in attendance and had been accompanying Gates, whether the Microsoft CEO had been briefed on the ruling.
"We've been in meetings [with Chinese officials] all day," Nelson said. "We've heard some rumors," he said, but he confirmed that Gates had not been briefed on the matter.
Although journalists were permitted to attend Gates’ presentation at Qinghua, officials stated at the outset that only Qinghua students would be allowed to ask questions.
But a foreign journalist interrupted the session and shouted out a question to seek Gates’ comment on the court order.
"Are you a student here?" Gates asked rhetorically. He refrained from responding further and calmly resumed the question and answer session with the students.