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Microsoft shares climb after judge's decision

The software giant rebounds on Wall Street one day after Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson suspends business restrictions placed on the company pending appeal.

Shares in Microsoft--long suffering from uncertainty surrounding its antitrust case--surged today, one day after a judge suspended business restrictions placed on the software giant pending appeal.

Microsoft's stock closed up $5.75, more than 7 percent, at $80.69. The shares recently have traded as low as $60.37. For the year, Microsoft shares are down 30 percent.

Microsoft has been a bellwether of technology stocks, but on Wall Street it has lost ground to technology giants such as Cisco Systems during a drawn-out antitrust case. Microsoft's market capitalization has slipped to about $430 billion, compared with about $464 billion for Cisco.

The slide in Microsoft's shares Special coverage: Breakup also has cut into the personal wealth of the company's chairman, Bill Gates, although Forbes magazine still ranks him as the world's richest person, with about $60 billion.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson yesterday surprised many experts by staying business restrictions against Microsoft pending an appeal. He also approved the case for direct appeal to the Supreme Court. The court is expected to decide by October whether to accept the case.