Gates says Microsoft won't be broken up

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates says the US government will not split his company up into separate pieces. Gates told a Tokyo audience that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is not even considering a breakup of Microsoft as an answer to its ongoing antitrust suit against the software company. 'The Department of Justice has made it clear that they have no interest in that ,' he said, and such talk was 'a figment in some competitors' imagination.'

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates says the US government will not split his company up into separate pieces.

Gates told a Tokyo audience that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is not even considering a breakup of Microsoft as an answer to its ongoing antitrust suit against the software company.

"The Department of Justice has made it clear that they have no interest in that (splitting up Microsoft)," Gates said at a question and answer session following the Tokyo launch of Microsoft's Windows 98 operating system.

The US DOJ vs. Microsoft case is due to come to trial on Sept. 8. Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice in conjunction with 20 U.S. states filed an antitrust complaint against the software giant accusing it of unfair use of its monopoly power.

Following the May ruling, the press and industry officials have spun scenarios on how the antitrust suit will conclude. One such plan would be to break up Microsoft into separate companies similar to the 1980s breakup of telecom provider AT&T.

Gates argued that such talk "may be a figment in some competitors' imagination," but it is not possible.

He advised the audience that when considering the DOJ antitrust suit against Microsoft, "the key thing is sticking with the facts."

The facts, Gates said, are that "Microsoft is one company," and the suit against Microsoft will not affect the company's ability to keep making innovative software.

"The legal issue is in no way affecting any of that (Microsoft's day-to-day development), in fact there is no way it could," Gates said.

And in an ironic twist for a man who constantly looks forward to an age when information is available at a person's fingertips, Gates asserted that talk of a Microsoft breakup is proof that information is not always accurate.

"Although this is the information age, the quality of information flow still needs to be improved," Gates said.

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