Microsoft shares drop on warnings

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Microsoft shares dropped sharply yesterday following warnings that tougher price competition - particularly in Europe - will slow revenue growth this year and next, reducing its profits.

By the close in the US yesterday, the shares were off dollars 5 at dollars 74.

The big software maker, whose share price jumped earlier this week after reporting fiscal 1993 earnings of almost dollars 1bn, triggered some of the sell-off itself, telling a meeting of industry analysts late on Thursday night that it was unlikely to match the 36 per cent sales growth of the past year.

VW and GM to meet General Motors confirmed that Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piech requested a meeting with its chief executive John Smith to discuss the legal and verbal dispute between the two companies. A spokesman for GM in Detroit said: 'They agreed to have a further (telephone) discussion early next week when Mr Smith returns from vacation.' GM has accused VW's executive Jose Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua of stealing GM documents before he joined VW in March. The German automaker said Mr Piech also wanted to discuss the future relationship between the two car companies.