Microsoft will not be split up, Gates says

One possible outcome of the US Government's antitrust case against Microsoft could be an order to split up the software vendor into smaller companies, observers have noted recently. But don't tell that to Microsoft chairman and CEO Bill Gates.

"That kind of speculation is really inappropriate because the government has never stated any interest in anything of that kind" like breaking up Microsoft, Gates said during a press conference at the company's Latin America Enterprise Solutions Conference '99 in Miami.

"You can speculate about what might happen, but not about any type of breakup. It's not on the radar screen. It's not something that anybody is suggesting," Gates added.

In the world according to Gates, the trial -- now in recess -- really boils down to an educational experience for the government.

"What Microsoft has done in terms of bringing prices down and supporting the Internet, those are all great things. Computer users around the world have benefited from our vision of the personal computer," he said. "So what's going on in court is the government is learning about the technology business... and we have very little doubt that at the end of the day our whole approach to business will be held to be a fantastic thing and very beneficial to consumers."

Asked to comment about reports that Microsoft lawyers are actively seeking to settle the case, Gates pleaded ignorance.

"I actually don't know the status of the discussions with the government and it's not valuable speculation... I'm sure the lawyers will do their best to simplify the thing, but it's not worth speculating on," Gates said.

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