Microsoft Corp. wrangled with antitrust regulators for much of the 1990s in legal battles that focused on whether it was using its pervasive Windows operating system to squelch other software alternatives. The company ultimately had to make several concessions while keeping most of its business intact, but the regulatory fight proved to be a major distraction that diverted management's attention just as Internet search was helping to turn the Web into a hotbed of data, entertainment and technology. Google helped to orchestrate that shift over the past 14 years, providing it with the means to branch into smartphones and other fields while Microsoft's growth has slowed amid the upheaval.
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