Not since the break-up of AT&T in 1982 has a company faced a death sentence, but last week Bill 'why's everybody always picking on me' Gates saw a US federal judge order the execution of Microsoft. As expected, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ordered that Microsoft be split in two and imposed sweeping curbs on its business practices. Calling the software giant untrustworthy, the judge ordered Gates to divide his company between an operating systems business (effectively the Windows family of products) and an applications business managing other software including the Internet Explorer web browser that started the fuss in the first place. The judge's ruling requires Microsoft to file detailed plans for its own demise in four months. Gates is to appeal.