U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson today ordered a split of Microsoft Corp. into two companies, as expected. One company will encompass Microsoft's operating system business and the other company will be for applications such as Microsoft's popular Office software suite and properties such as MSN. The final decision in the case, after more than two years of legal wrangling, would place restrictions on the software giant's business conduct. Such restrictions could complicate marketing initiatives for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Microsoft is expected to appeal the ruling and announced a 5 p.m. (ET) news conference when top executives would comment on the judge's ruling. Judge Jackson on April 3 ruled that Microsoft exerted monopoly power in the software industry.
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