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Microsoft - tough trading for "next year or two"

CFO warns that the software industry faces "a contraction of some substance"

Microsoft's CFO, Christopher Liddell, has warned delegates at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference that the software industry should expect tough economic conditions for some time to come.

"A contraction of some substance is the way that we are thinking about it," he said. "How long the contraction's going to be and how deep none of us know - despite what politicians and others are saying, it's probably for the next year or two that we're going to see a difficult trading environment."

Liddell echoed brief comments made earlier in the week by CEO Steve Ballmer, as the Windows company's share hit an 11-year low.

As part of cost-cutting measure the firm is axing around 5000 staff, and according to Forbes it has also lowered the rates that it pays agencies supplying it with temporary staff.

The Microsoft share price currently stands at USD 16.42, down 3.2 per cent over the day yesterday.

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Phil Elliott