Microsoft shares hit rock bottom

Shares of Microsoft Corporation fell to a two-year low Monday, beginning a shaky financial week for the PC industry in which several major companies will announce their quarterly earnings. Weighed down by fears that companies such as Intel, Microsoft and Apple will post much lower-than-expected earnings, Microsoft's stock fell to as low as $49.56 before settling at $50.38; it had been trading near $120 last December. But a string of legal problems have plagued the software giant since, and it's historically strong stock has taken a hit after hit all year.

Also weighing on the stock is Windows 2000, which hasn't been selling as well as Microsoft had expected. Analysts expected Windows 2000 sales to pick up once Windows 2000 Service Pack 1 (SP1) was made available, and this week's quarterly earnings report will be the first to include sales since that release. Also, Microsoft's first consumer Windows product--Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me)--was released during the quarter, and has reportedly been selling very well.

Microsoft will issue its quarterly earnings report Wednesday

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