Ballmer Says Microsoft Breakup Not in Cards

Microsoft Corp. weathered government pressure a decade ago to break up its business. Now the software giant faces similar questions from a new quarter: its stockholders.

At the company’s annual shareholder meeting Tuesday, Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and Chairman Bill Gates sought to calm investors, some of whom asked if the maker of Windows operating systems and Xbox game consoles would be more valuable as individual companies.

“Is it time to consider breaking this company up?” one investor, grousing over Microsoft’s share price, asked Mr. Ballmer.
Mr. Ballmer, who has run Microsoft for the past 10 years, dismissed the idea, saying it would reduce Microsoft’s value by making it more difficult for the company to compete.

“I obviously don’t think it is time” for a break up, Mr. Ballmer responded, noting that many of Microsoft’s products, including Windows and the Office suite, are sold to consumers and corporations alike.

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