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Microsoft President Steve Ballmer insists a breakup would not increase shareholder value, but drive prices so low through competition that neither company could make a profit.

TECH MARKET GOES MICROSOFT

NASDAQ Drops After Justice Dept. Ruling To Split Microsoft
While the Justice Dept. fiddles with Microsoft, the tech market is going up in smoke.

After the April 3 verdict concluding that bill gates',390,400);">bill gates',390,400);">Bill Gates' monolith broke federal anti-trust laws, sources say the government and 19 states will ask the court to split the company into two or three separate divisions.

The uncertainty surrounding the tech giant sparked a sell-off in technology shares today, as the Nasdaq finished down 161.50 points in a third straight session of losses.

Microsoft fell 12 5/16 or 15.6%, to 66 5/8 after reports surfaced that federal antitrust regulators may make the company divest its Windows operating system and software applications businesses. A third company would get the Internet Explorer browser and the ISP Microsoft Network. The goal of a breakup would be to allow competition with Windows among companies such as Linux.

A remedy proposal is set to go to U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson by Friday, while Microsoft will continue to pursue appeals. Microsoft President Steve Ballmer insists a breakup would not increase shareholder value, but drive prices so low through competition that neither company could make a profit.

Goldman Sachs analyst Rich Sherlund downgraded his rating on Microsoft to "market outperformer" from the "recommended list," while SG Cowen cut its rating on the stock from "strong buy" to "buy."

Last Thursday (4/20), Microsoft reported soft sales of personal computers to businesses led to weaker-than-anticipated third-quarter revenue.

In other news, Gates had to borrow $2 for a cup of coffee.

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