SOFTWARE: A $175 Million Bottleneck

A $175 Million Bottleneck

Many people in the computer industry were unhappy last week when shares of Microsoft fell almost 14% in one day. But no one felt the sting more than William Gates, 33, the boyish-looking co-founder and chairman of the software- manufacturing firm. His 38% stake in Microsoft left him nearly $175 million poorer -- on paper. (His shares are still worth $1.1 billion.) Investors dumped the stock after hearing that profits were about to dip because of unanticipated delays in shipping two new versions of Microsoft's word- processing program.

Microsoft is not the only software manufacturer in dutch. Many of its competitors...

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