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Microsoft CEO Calls Break-Up Decision "Inconsistent"

The judicial decision that ordered Microsoft Corp. to be split into two on antitrust grounds is "inconsistent" with previous rulings by the Dept. of Justice and is based on legal and factual errors, CEO Steve Ballmer said today. "Any break-up would hold back the level of innovation and cause disruption to what we are able to do for the consumer," Ballmer said at a news briefing in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He reiterated that Microsoft would appeal against the decision, and that it will seek a stay of the temporary restrictions the court imposed on its business practices. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson on June 7 ordered Microsoft to be split in two, saying the break-up of the world's most powerful technology company is needed to restore competition to the software industry. Under the proposal, one company would own the Windows operating system and the other would own Microsoft's popular Office suite and other software applications programs. Jackson also acceded to prosecutors' proposal to impose a set of "conduct" restrictions designed to rein in Microsoft's aggressive business tactics before the break-up goes into effect. He said Microsoft has been "untrustworthy" in the past, and expressed the fear that it would respond in similar fashion again. "The court is convinced for several reasons that a final -- and appealable judgment should be entered quickly. It has also reluctantly come to the conclusion, for the same reasons, that a structural remedy has become imperative; Microsoft as it is presently organized and led is unwilling to accept the notion that it broke the law or accede to an order amending its conduct," Jackson wrote in a memorandum accompanying the ruling.

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