Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, has threatened that the sanctions which have been proposed by nine states not involved in the settlement with the federal government would force Microsoft to remove the Windows operating system from the market.

"I actually think we would need to withdraw the Windows product from the marketplace. That...would be the only way I understand to comply with the proposal as put forward by the non-settling states," he told the court.

The sanctions in question involve forcing Microsoft to provide an operating system which can be configured without any of the company's middleware at all, a task that Ballmer says is impossible without breaking Windows.

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