Microsoft pushes for Wall St bailout to protect tech firms

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With much of Wall Street reeling from the current banking crisis, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer is lobbying congress to reconsider its refusal to bail out the teetering market.

The Redmond chief executive told Reuters on Tuesday that the technology sector, though relatively insulated from the immediate crisis, will still feel major pains should a bailout agreement not be reached.

"I think one has to anticipate that no company is immune to these issues," Ballmer was quoted as saying.

"We have a lot of business with the corporate sector as well as with the consumer sector and whatever happens economically will certainly effect itself on Microsoft."

Technology companies were certainly not spared from Monday's carnage, in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted by a record 777 points following news of a rejected US$700bn bailout plan.

Apple led the sector in losses, aided not only by the market crisis but also by a series of disparaging analyst reports which worked to drop the company's stock some 18 per cent.

Apple was not alone. Yahoo saw its shares dive by ten per cent, while Amazon and Google both saw its shares fall by 11 per cent. Microsoft lost slightly under five per cent on its share price.

Though it didn't take the hit as hard as some of its counterparts, Microsoft took the leading in urging lawmakers to intervene and bail out the market.

"Microsoft strongly urges members of the U.S. House of Representatives to reconsider and to support legislation that will re-instill confidence and stability in the financial markets," general counsel Brad Smith said in a statement.

"This legislation is vitally important to the health and preservation of jobs in all sectors of the economy of Washington State and the nation, and we urge Congress to act swiftly."

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