At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared
the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had
kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all
be driving twenty-five dollar cars that got 1000 miles to the gallon."
In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release
stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all
be driving cars with the following characterististics:
1. For no reason whatsoever your car would crash twice a day.
2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road you would have
to buy a new car.
3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason,
and you would just accept this, restart and drive on.
4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn, would cause
your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would
have to re-install the engine.
5. Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought
"Car95" or "CarNT". But, then you would have to buy more seats.
6. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable,
five times as fast, and twice as easy to drive, but would only run on
five percent of the roads.
7. The oil, water temperature and alternator warning lights would be
replaced by a single "general car default" warning light.
8. New seats would force everyone to have the same size butt.
9. The airbag system would say "Are you sure?" before going off.
10. Occasionally for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out
and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door
handle, turned the key, and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.
11. GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of
Rand McNally road maps (now a GM subsidiary), even though they
neither need them nor want them. Attempting to delete this option
would immediately cause the car's performance to diminish by
50 percent or more. Moreover, GM would become a target for
investigation by the Justice Dept.
12. Every time GM introduced a new model, car buyers would have to
learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls
would operate in the same manner as the old car.
13. You'd press the "start" button to shut off the engine.
Reasons the USA is the Real World Microsoft
Arrogant. Believe they run the world. Is there anyone else?
People have a love/hate relationship to it. They love themselves.
Does not follow existing standards, or receive outside impulses.
Thus reinvents the wheel a lot. Square shape.
Younger, yet still struggles with outdated legacies from its
Ruled by lawyers and corporate values. Individual freedom limited
through intellectual property laws - though you are told otherwise.
Uses strong-arm tactics/bullying when dealing with "partners."
Creates lots of self-congratulating hype through good marketing.
Focuses entirely on money. Quality is less important.
Speak only the native language, unless specially equipped.
An evasive, self-contradicting leader named Bill.
There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire
to become a great writer.
When asked to define "great," he said, "I want to write stuff that
the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly
emotional level -- stuff that will make them scream in disbelief, cry
in despair, howl in pain, and vent their anger in ways they've never
The young man got his wish. He now works for Microsoft, writing
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MICROSOFT'S NEW TV DINNER PRODUCT
You must first remove the plastic cover. By doing so you agree to
accept and honor Microsoft rights to all TV dinners. You may not give
anyone else a bite of your dinner (which would constitute an
infringement of Microsoft's rights). You may, however, let others smell
and look at your dinner and are encouraged to tell them how good it is.
If you have a PC microwave oven, insert the dinner into the oven.
Set the oven using these keystrokes: <\mstv.dinn.//08.5min@50%heat//
Then enter: TOP MICROSOFT NON-MONOPOLISTIC SLOGANS
Competition is good. 90% market share is better.
We're disappointed that the US government failed to reach
a reasonable settlement with Microsoft. We thought that
our press release last year about Microsoft buying the
US government took care of these little details.
We support a free marketplace. So long as our support is
visibly branded everywhere, at any price.
The Road Ahead: Revised edition, "How to avoid the sink holes."
When in doubt, spend gobs of cash on ads in all the major
newspapers on a one-day rampage against government. That
always beats befriending politicians and bureaucrats.
We value our customers. That's why we only charge $75 per question
on our toll-free tech support phone lines! (Hey, at least the phone
call is free)!
Just because our marketing memos effectively caught us with our
pants down and our hands in the cookie jar, doesn't mean we can't
bully our way out of this mess.
We love the idea of competition. That's why we bought a huge
chunk of Apple.
The US economy depends heavily on Microsoft's ability to release
Windows98 on time. Yeah, and that also proves how insignificant and
non-monopolistic we are as compared to our software competitors.
No Netscape for you!
If restaurants functioned like Microsoft...
Waiter: Hi, my name is Bill, and I'll be your Support Waiter. What seems
to be the problem?
Patron: There's a fly in my soup!
Waiter: Try again, maybe the fly won't be there this time.
Patron: No, it's still there.
Waiter: Maybe it's the way you're using the soup; try eating it with a
Patron: Even when I use the fork, the fly is still there.
Waiter: Maybe the soup is incompatible with the bowl; what kind of bowl
are you using?
Patron: A SOUP bowl!
Waiter: Hmmm, that should work. Maybe it's a configuration problem;
how was the bowl set up?
Patron: You brought it to me on a saucer; what has that to do with the
fly in my soup?!
Waiter: Can you remember everything you did before you noticed the fly
in your soup?
Patron: I sat down and ordered the Soup of the Day!
Waiter: Have you considered upgrading to the latest Soup of the Day?
Patron: You have more than one Soup of the Day each day??
Waiter: Yes, the Soup of the Day is changed every hour.
Patron: Well, what is the Soup of the Day now?
Waiter: The current Soup of the Day is tomato.
Patron: Fine. Bring me the tomato soup, and the check.
I'm running late now.
Waiter leaves and returns with another bowl of soup and the check.
Waiter: Here you are, Sir. The soup and your check.
Patron: This is potato soup.
Waiter: Yes, the tomato soup wasn't ready yet.
Patron: Well, I'm so hungry now, I'll eat anything.
Patron: Waiter! There's a gnat in my soup!
Soup of the Day ................................... $5.00
Upgrade to newer Soup of the Day .................. $2.50
Access to support ................................. $1.00
In the wake of the recent court victory by Lotus concerning
copyright infringement, Microsoft Inc. announced today that
they are suing Lotus for infringing on their lawsuit copyrights.
"We have examined the text of the Lotus lawsuits and have
determined that they violate our copyright on look-and-feel
lawsuits," a spokesman for Microsoft said. "A lot of effort
was spent developing the concept of look-and-feel lawsuits and
Lotus is capitalizing on our work."
At the same time, Microsoft filed for a patent on look-and-feel
A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction against Lotus,
preventing them from pursuing further lawsuits on the basis of
copyright infringement until formal briefs could be filed by both
sides. Borland stock jumped 1 5/8 points on the news.
PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES ARE LIKE WOMEN
by Daniel J. Salomon
There are so many programming languages available that it can be
very difficult to get to know them all well enough to pick the right
one for you. On the other hand most men know what kind of woman appeals
to them. So here is a handy guide for many of the popular programming
languages that describes what kind of women they would be if programming
languages were women.
A female track star who holds all the world speed records. She is
hard and bumpy, and so is not that pleasant to embrace. She can cook
up any meal, but needs a complete and detailed recipe. She is not
beautiful or educated, and speaks in monosyllables like "MOV, JUMP,
INC". She has a fierce and violent temper that make her the choice
of last resort.
Your grey-haired grandmother. People make fun of her just because
she is old, but if you take the time to listen, you can learn from her
experiences and her mistakes. During her lifetime she has acquired
many useful skills in sewing and cooking (subroutine libraries) That
no younger women can match, so be thankful she is still around. She
has a notoriously bad temper and when angered will start yelling and
throwing dishes. It was mostly her bad temper that made grandad search
for another wife.
A plump secretary. She talks far too much, and most of what she says
can be ignored. She works hard and long hours, but can't handle really
complicated jobs. She has a short and unpredictable temper, so no one
really likes working with her. She can cook meals for a huge family,
but only knows bland recipes.
The horny divorcee that lives next door. Her specialty is seducing
young boys and it seems she is always readily available for them. She
teaches them many amazing things, or at least they seem amazing because
it is their) first experience. She is not that young herself, but
because she was their first lover the boys always remember her fondly.
Her cooking and sewing skills are mediocre, but largely irrelevant,
it's the frolicking that the boys like. The opinion that adults have
of Mrs. BASIC is varied. Shockingly, some fathers actually introduce
their own sons to this immoral woman! But generally the more righteous
adults try to correct the badly influenced young men by introducing them
to well behaved women like Miss Pascal.
A bordello madam. She wears silk dresses, diamonds, furs and red high
heels. At one time she seemed very attractive, but now she just seems
overweight and tacky. Tastes change.
A lady executive. An avid jogger, very healthy, and not too
talkative. Is an good cook if you like spicy food. Unless you double
check everything you say (through LINT) you can unleash her fierce
temper. Her daughter C++ is still quite young and prone to tantrums,
but it seems that she will grow up into a fine young woman of milder
temper and more sophisticated character.
Your father's wartime sweetheart, petite, well proportioned, and
sweet tempered. She disappeared mysteriously during the war, but
your dad still talks about her shapely form and their steamy romance.
He never actually tasted much of her cooking.
A grammar school teacher, and Algol 60's younger sister. Like her
sister she is petite and attractive, but very bossy. She is a good
cook but only if the recipe requires no more than one pot (module).
A high-school teacher and Pascal's daughter. Very much like her
mother, but she has learned to cook with more than one pot.
Algol 60's niece. A high-society woman, well educated and terse.
Few men can fully understand her when she talks, and her former lovers
still discuss her mysterious personality. She is very choosy about her
romances and won't take just any man as her lover. She hasn't been seen
lately, and rumor has it that she died in a fall from an ivory tower.
She is an aging beatnik, who lives in a rural commune with her hippie
cousins SMALLTALK and FORTH. Many men (mostly college students) who
have visited the farmhouse,-- enthusiastically praise the natural food,
and perpetual love-ins that take place there. Others criticize the long
cooking times, and the abnormal sexual postures (prefix and postfix).
Although these women seldom have full-time jobs, when they do work,
their employers praise them for their imagination, but usually not for
A fancy caterer specializing in Greek food. She can cook delicious
meals for rows and rows of tables with dozens of people at each table.
She doesn't talk much, as that would just slow her work down. Few
people can understand her recipes, since they are in a foreign language,
and are all recorded in mirror writing.
A grade-school art teacher. She is just the kind of teacher that you
wish you had when you were young. She is shapely and patient, but not
an interesting conversationalist. She can cook up delicious kiddie
snacks, but not full-course meals.
LUCID & PROLOG
These clever teenagers show a new kind of cooking skill. They can
cook-up fine meals without the use of recipes, working solely from a
description of the desired meal (declarative cooking). Many men are
fascinated by this and have already proposed marriage. Others complain
that the girls work very slowly, and that often the description of the
meal must be just as long as a recipe would be. It is hard to predict
what these girls will be like when they are fully mature.
A WAC colonel built like an amazon. She is always setting strict
rules, but if you follow them, she keeps her temper. She is quite
talkative, always spouting army regulations, and using obscure military
talk. You gotta love her though, because the army says so.
Microsoft Panhandler v1.0 (Beta)
Redmond, WA -- Microsoft Corporation chair, CEO and all-around babe
magnet Bill Gates announced yesterday the introduction of a new product
for Windows 95: Microsoft Panhandling.
"The idea came to me the other day when a homeless man asked me for
money," recalls Gates. "I suddenly realized that we were missing a
golden opportunity. Here was a chance to make a profit without any
initial monetary investment. Naturally, this man then became my
competition, so I had my limo driver run over him several times."
Microsoft engineers have been working around the clock to complete
Gates' vision of panhandling for the 21st century.
"We feel that our program designers really understand how the poor
and needy situation works," says Microsoft Homeless product leader
Bernard Liu. "Except for the fact that they're stinking rich."
Microsoft Panhandling will be automatically installed with Windows 95.
At random intervals, a dialog box pops up, asking the user if they could
spare any change so that Microsoft has enough money to get a hot meal.
("This is a little lie," admits software engineer Adam Miller, "since
our diet consists of Coke and Twinkies, but what panhandler doesn't
embellish a little?") The user can click Yes, in which case a random
amount of change between $.05 and $142.50 is transferred from the
user's bank account to Microsoft's. The user can also respond No, in
which case the program politely tells the user to have a nice day. The
"No" button has not yet been implemented.
"We're experiencing a little trouble programming the No button,"
Bernard Liu says, "but we should definitely have it up and running within
the next couple of years. Or at least by the time Windows 2014 comes out.
Gates says this is just the start of an entire line of products.
"Be on the lookout for products like Microsoft Mugging, which either
takes $50 or erases your hard drive, and Microsoft Squeegee Guy, which
will clean up your Windows for a dollar." (When Microsoft Squeegee Guy
ships, Windows 95 will no longer automatically refresh your windows.)
But there are competitors on the horizon. Sun Microsystems and Oracle
Corporation are introducing panhandling products of their own.
"Gates is a few tacos short of a combination platter, if you get my
drift," says Oracle Head Honcho and 3rd degree black belt Larry Ellison.
"I mean, in the future, we won't need laptop computers asking you for
change. You'll have an entire network of machines asking you for money."
Gates responded with, "I know what you are, but what am I?" General
pandemonium then ensued.
MICROSOFT ACQUIRES CHRISTMAS
NORTH POLE (API) -- Microsoft announced an agreement with Santa Claus
Industries to acquire Christmas at a press conference held via satellite
from Santa's summer estate somewhere in the southern hemisphere.
In the deal, Microsoft would gain exclusive rights to Christmas,
Reindeer, and other unspecified inventions. In addition, Microsoft
will gain access to millions of households through the Santa Sleigh.
The announcement also included a notice that beginning Jan. 1, 1999,
Christmas and the Reindeer names would be copyrighted by Microsoft.
This unprecedented move was facilitated by two recent acquisitions,
the MS Court, formally known as the US Supreme Court and the
US Department of Justice, yet to be renamed. Microsoft stated its
commitment to "all who have made Christmas great," and vowed to "make
licensing of the Christmas and Reindeer names available to all".
It is believed that the guidelines for licensing these names, due
before Halloween, will be very strict. - With the MS record for dates
this is expected to be revised.
When asked "Why buy Christmas?" Bill Gates replied, "Microsoft has
been working on a more efficient delivery mechanism for all of our
products for some time, but recognized that the Santa Sleigh has some
immediate benefits. We'll use it first for the distribution of
Windows 97, I mean Win 98 (maybe a beta version of NT 5.0) and
In a multimedia extravaganza, the attendees were shown a seemingly
endless video stream of products that make up the deal. It ended with
a green and red version of the Microsoft logo, and a new Christmas 98
trademark, leading into the announcement of the first product from the
Vixen, the new Director of Holidays and Celebrations said, "The first
step is to assimilate Christmas within the Microsoft organization. This
will take some time, so don't expect any changes this year." She
continued, "our big plans are for next year, when we release
Christmas 99. It will be bigger and better than last year." She further
elaborated that "Windows98 users who sign up with MSN will get sneak
previews of Christmas as early as November fifteen."
Christmas 99 is scheduled for release in December of 1998, though one
unnamed source said that it is dangerously close to the end of the year
and may slip into the first half of 1999 or 2000 (oh! well). An economist
at Goldman Sachs explained that a slip would be catastrophic to next
year's economy and the nation's tax revenue, possibly requiring the IRS
to move the deadline for filing income tax returns to three months after
Christmas, whenever that was.
"But it could be good in the long term," he explained. "With Microsoft
controlling Christmas, we may see it move to May or June, which are much
slower months for retailers. This may serve to even out the economy over
the year." (** As if this date the acquisition of the IRS by Microsoft is
When asked if other holidays are being considered, Mr. Gates explained
that "Christmas is the flagship of holidays, so we wanted to start there.
Not all holidays are available for sale, and the remaining will have to
show a good long term business," suggesting that holidays with a short
history may not be in the plans.
Though specific terms of the agreement were withheld pending final FTC
approval, a Santa official (alias "The Nose") confirmed that the deal was
"sizeable, even for a man of Santa's stature."
Some analysts think that Santa has saturated the Holiday market, and
is looking for a means to expand his business to year 'round products
and services. Others contend that the Jolly Red Man and Mrs. Claus are
looking to retire in Redmond. A spokesperson for the most famous Reindeer
could not be reached for comment.
REDMOND, WA--In what CEO Bill Gates called "an unfortunate but necessary
step to protect our intellectual property from theft and exploitation by
competitors," the Microsoft Corporation patented the numbers one and zero
With the patent, Microsoft's rivals are prohibited from manufacturing
or selling products containing zeroes and ones--the mathematical building
blocks of all computer languages and programs--unless a royalty fee of
10 cents per digit used is paid to the software giant.
"Microsoft has been using the binary system of ones and zeroes ever
since its inception in 1975," Gates told reporters. "For years, in the
interest of the overall health of the computer industry, we permitted
the free and unfettered use of our proprietary numeric systems. However,
changing marketplace conditions and the increasingly predatory practices
of certain competitors now leave us with no choice but to seek
compensation for the use of our numerals."
A number of major Silicon Valley players, including Apple Computer,
Netscape and Sun Microsystems, said they will challenge the Microsoft
patent as monopolistic and anti-competitive, claiming that the
10-cent-per-digit licensing fee would bankrupt them instantly.
"While, technically, Java is a complex system of algorithms used to
create a platform-independent programming environment, it is, at its
core, just a string of trillions of ones and zeroes," said Sun
Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy, whose company created the Java
programming environment used in many Internet applications. "The
licensing fees we'd have to pay Microsoft every day would be
approximately 327,000 times the total net worth of this company."
"If this patent holds up in federal court, Apple will have no choice
but to convert to analog," said Apple interim CEO Steve Jobs, "and I
have serious doubts whether this company would be able to remain
competitive selling pedal-operated computers running software off
As a result of the Microsoft patent, many other companies have begun
radically revising their product lines: Database manufacturer Oracle
has embarked on a crash program to develop "an abacus for the next
millennium." Novell, whose communications and networking systems are
also subject to Microsoft licensing fees, is working with top animal
trainers on a chimpanzee-based message-transmission system. Hewlett
-Packard is developing a revolutionary new steam-powered printer.
Despite the swarm of protest, Gates is standing his ground,
maintaining that ones and zeroes are the undisputed property
"We will vigorously enforce our patents of these numbers, as they
are legally ours," Gates said.
We also own: papyrus scrolls written by Pythagoras himself in which
he explains the idea of singular notation, or 'one'; early tracts by
Mohammed ibn Musa al Kwarizimi explaining the concept of al-sifr, or
'the cipher'; original mathematical manuscripts by Heisenberg, Einstein
and Planck; and a signed first-edition copy of Jean-Paul Sartre's Being
And Nothingness. Should the need arise, Microsoft will have no difficulty
proving to the Justice Department or anyone else that we own the rights
to these numbers."
Added Gates: "My salary also has lots of zeroes. I'm the richest man
in the world."
According to experts, the full ramifications of Microsoft's patenting
of one and zero have yet to be realized.
"Because all integers and natural numbers derive from one and zero,
Microsoft may, by extension, lay claim to ownership of all mathematics
and logic systems, including Euclidean geometry, pulleys and levers,
gravity, and the basic Newtonian principles of motion, as well as the
concepts of existence and nonexistence," Yale University theoretical
mathematics professor J. Edmund Lattimore said. "In other words,
pretty much everything."
Lattimore said that the only mathematical constructs of which
Microsoft may not be able to claim ownership are infinity and
transcendental numbers like pi. Microsoft lawyers are expected to
file liens on infinity and pi this week.
Microsoft has not yet announced whether it will charge a user fee
to individuals who wish to engage in such mathematically rooted motions
as walking, stretching and smiling.
In an address beamed live to billions of people around the globe
Monday, Gates expressed confidence that his company's latest move
will, ultimately, benefit all humankind.
"Think of this as a partnership," Gates said. "Like the ones and
zeroes of the binary code itself, we must all work together to make
the promise of the computer revolution a reality. As the world's
richest, most powerful software company, Microsoft is number one.
And you, the millions of consumers who use our products, are the zeroes."
Microsoft Corporation today announced its intent to purchase,
copyright, and upgrade G.O.D. or GOD. The new product would be
named, predictably enough, "Microsoft GOD", and would be available
to consumers sometime in late 1998. "Too many people feel
separated from God in today's world," said Joseph McSmither,
director of Microsoft's new Religions division. "Microsoft GOD will
make our L.O.R.D. or LORD more accessible, and will add an easy,
intuitive user interface to the LORD, making the LORD not only
easier to find, but easier to communicate with."
The new Microsoft Religions line will be expanded to include a
multitude of add-on products to Microsoft GOD, including:
Microsoft Crusades: This conversion product will bring all
worshipper accounts and prayer files over from previous versions of
GOD, or from competing products like Buddha or Allah.
Microsoft GOD for the World Wide Web: This product ties Microsoft
GOD with Microsoft Internet Information Server, making our LORD
accessible from the World Wide Web using a standard Web browser
interface. It introduces several new Web technologies, including
Dynamic Salvation (DS) and Active Prayer Pages (APP). Donations for
the poor can be donated via a Secure Alms Server (SAS).
Microsoft Prayers: Using a Windows-based WYSIWYG interface, this
product will allow worshippers to construct effective prayers in a
minimum of time. A Secure Prayer Channel technology allows
guaranteed delivery of the prayer to Microsoft GOD servers, and
Prayer Wizards enable users to construct new types of prayers with
a minimum learning curve.
Microsoft Bible: Using a Windows-based editor, worshippers can cut
and paste any Bible verses to fit their needs so that they can use
them to back them up if any other people confront them for wrong
doing. In the future, the Microsoft Bible will replace all the
hardcopied ones found inside all courts and hotel rooms.
Microsoft Savior: This product will allow worshippers to transfer
their sins to its internal Vice Database. After a preset interval,
the product will erase itself from the user's system and establish
a clear line of secure communications to the user's Microsoft GOD
Additionally, Microsoft is expected to announce a line of
complimentary products for the new Religions line, which will
enhance the functionality of the Microsoft GOD server product by
providing a customized user interface. These interfaces will be
based on popular religious sects, allowing worshippers to interact
with the new GOD product in much the same way as the previous
version. This line is expected to include Microsoft Mormon,
Microsoft Catholicism, Microsoft Judaism (incompatible with
Microsoft Savior), etc. However, it will not be compatible with
the Windows666 Operating System since it makes them harder to
save any file and impossible to restore a bad one, and many times
it crashes the heart disk resulting in smoke and fire.
Competitor Netscape Communications denies rumors that it is
planning to release a competing product, Netscape Satanism, that
would attempt to render Microsoft GOD installations inoperable.
Sun Microsystems also denies rumors that it is planning to release
a similar product, JavaChrist, and has filed suit to prevent
Microsoft from using its logo.
REDMOND (BNN) -- World leaders reacted with stunned silence as
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) conducted an underground nuclear test at a
secret facility in eastern Washington state. The device, exploded at
9:22 am PDT (1622 GMT/12:22 pm EDT) today, was timed to coincide with
talks between Microsoft and the US Department of Justice over possible
"Microsoft is going to defend its right to market its products by any
and all necessary means," said Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. "Not that I'm
anti-government" he continued, "but there would be few tears shed in
the computer industry if Washington were engulfed in a bath of nuclear
Scientists pegged the explosion at around 100 kilotons. "I nearly
dropped my latte when I saw the seismometer" explained University of
Washington geophysicist Dr. Whoops Blammover, "At first I thought it
was Mt. Rainier, and I was thinking, damn, there goes the mountain
In Washington, President Clinton announced the US Government would
boycott all Microsoft products indefinitely. Minutes later, the
President reversed his decision. "We've tried sanctions since
lunchtime, and they don't work," said the President. Instead, the
administration will initiate a policy of "constructive engagement"
Microsoft's Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myrhvold said the test
justified Microsoft's recent acquisition of the Hanford Nuclear
Reservation from the US Government. Not only did Microsoft acquire
"kilograms of weapons grade plutonium" in the deal, said Myrhvold,
"but we've finally found a place to dump those millions of unsold
copies of Microsoft Bob." Myrhvold warned users not to replace
Microsoft NT products with rival operating systems. "I can neither
confirm nor deny the existence of a radioisotope thermoelectric
generator inside of every Pentium II microprocessor," said Myrhvold,
"but anyone who installs an OS written by a bunch of long-hairs on the
Internet is going to get what they deserve."
The existence of an RTG in each Pentium II microprocessor would
explain why the microprocessors, made by the Intel Corporation, run so
hot. The Intel chips "put out more heat than they draw in electrical
power" said Prof. E. Thymes of MIT. "This should finally dispell those
stories about cold fusion."
Rumors suggest a second weapons development project is underway in
California, headed by Microsoft rival Sun Microsystems. "They're doing
all of the development work in Java," said one source close to the
project. The development of a delivery system is said to be holding up
progress. "Write once, bomb anywhere is still a dream at the moment."
Meanwhile, in Cupertino, California, Apple interim-CEO Steve Jobs was
rumored to be in discussion with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison about
deploying Apple's Newton technology against Microsoft. "Newton was the
biggest bomb the Valley has developed in years," said one hardware
engineer. "I'd hate to be around when they drop that product a second
MICROSOFT Bids to Acquire Catholic Church
By Hank Vorjes
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- In a joint press conference in St. Peter's
Square this morning, MICROSOFT Corp. and the Vatican announced
that the Redmond software giant will acquire the Roman Catholic
Church in exchange for an unspecified number of shares of
MICROSOFT common stock. If the deal goes through, it will be
the first time a computer software company has acquired a major
With the acquisition, Pope John Paul II will become the senior
vice-president of the combined company's new Religious Software
Division, while MICROSOFT senior vice-presidents Michael Maples
and Steven Ballmer will be invested in the College of Cardinals,
said MICROSOFT Chairman Bill Gates.
"We expect a lot of growth in the religious market in the next
five to ten years," said Gates. "The combined resources of
MICROSOFT and the Catholic Church will allow us to make religion
easier and more fun for a broader range of people."
Through the MICROSOFT Network, the company's new on-line
service, "we will make the sacraments available on-line for
the first time" and revive the popular pre-Counter-Reformation
practice of selling indulgences, said Gates. "You can get
Communion, confess your sins, receive absolution -- even reduce
your time in Purgatory -- all without leaving your home."
A new software application, MICROSOFT Church, will include a
macro language which you can program to download heavenly graces
automatically while you are away from your computer.
An estimated 17,000 people attended the announcement in
St Peter's Square, watching on a 60-foot screen as comedian
Don Novello -- in character as Father Guido Sarducci -- hosted
the event, which was broadcast by satellite to 700 sites
Pope John Paul II said little during the announcement. When
Novello chided Gates, "Now I guess you get to wear one of these
pointy hats," the crowd roared, but the pontiff's smile seemed
The deal grants MICROSOFT exclusive electronic rights to the
Bible and the Vatican's prized art collection, which includes
works by such masters as Michelangelo and Da Vinci. But critics
say MICROSOFT will face stiff challenges if it attempts to limit
competitors' access to these key intellectual properties.
"The Jewish people invented the look and feel of the holy
scriptures," said Rabbi David Gottschalk of Philadelphia. "You
take the parting of the Red Sea -- we had that thousands of
years before the Catholics came on the scene."
But others argue that the Catholic and Jewish faiths both
draw on a common Abrahamic heritage. "The Catholic Church has
just been more successful in marketing it to a larger audience,"
notes Notre Dame theologian Father Kenneth Madigan. Over the
last 2,000 years, the Catholic Church's market share has
increased dramatically, while Judaism, which was the first to
offer many of the concepts now touted by Christianity, lags
Historically, the Church has a reputation as an aggressive
competitor, leading crusades to pressure people to upgrade to
Catholicism, and entering into exclusive licensing arrangements
in various kingdoms whereby all subjects were instilled with
Catholicism, whether or not they planned to use it. Today
Christianity is available from several denominations, but the
Catholic version is still the most widely used. The Church's
mission is to reach "the four corners of the earth," echoing
MICROSOFT's vision of "a computer on every desktop and in every
Gates described MICROSOFT's long-term strategy to develop a
scalable religious architecture that will support all religions
through emulation. A single core religion will be offered with
a choice of interfaces according to the religion desired --
"One religion, a couple of different implementations," said
The MICROSOFT move could spark a wave of mergers and
acquisitions, according to Herb Peters, a spokesman for the
U.S. Southern Baptist Conference, as other churches scramble
to strengthen their position in the increasingly competitive
RAI INVESTS $125 MILLION IN MICROSOFT NETWORK
VATICAN CITY -- A division of Italian television giant RAI said
Wednesday it has invested $125 million for a 20 percent stake
in Microsoft Corp.'s planned on-line computer service, The
Microsoft Divine Network.
The investment lays the groundwork for delivering planned
on-line religious services to personal computers over
television cable, which will allow much faster and richer
transmission of data such as sound clips and video than is
permitted today over regular telephone lines.
"We are big believers in connecting PCs to cable for online
because it gives us more bandwidth to do new kinds of
applications using audio and video," said Ziggy Mann, general
manager of the Microsoft on-line services group.
Under the agreement, RAI's Vatican Technology Ventures has
made an all-stock investment in the newly formed Microsoft
Online Church Partnership, which will hold the assets and cash
flow of the planned on-line service.
The service was announced in November and is expected to be
launched next year as an optional feature (Microsoft Church) of
the Windows 95 operating system, which now is expected to be
available in August 1995.
The service will be offered at first over telephone lines,
but Don Novello, senior vice president of the RAI-Vatican
technology unit, said by 1996, some on-line services likely
will be delivered over cable as cable modems and other
equipment are perfected.
While RAI would market and distribute the service to the
20 million households, the relationship would not be exclusive
and the cable provider would offer connections to any on-line
services available and requested by its customers, Novello said.
America OnLine, Compuserve and other on-line service providers
have been testing the possibility of delivering their services
over cable rather than telephone lines.
The partership announced Wednesday, which long had been
rumored, is one of several between RAI and Microsoft.
The two companies also are about to begin a small-scale
test of interactive television services broadcasting from
the Vatican, and have announced plans to develop a cable
television channel focused on computing, which Novello said
will be launched next year.
Rob Goldman, an analyst at Imperiale Shwain, said the latest
agreement was strategically important to both companies and
signaled an increasing convergence of media on the information
"I think it is very strategic for Microsoft to try to
leverage their investment in an on-line service to be able
to offer it to RAI's 20 million households," he said.
"Ultimately you ought to able to access this through your
television and not just your personal computer. Having the
same on-line service connected to (both) would be a very
Executives of the two companies did not provide details on
how they arrived at a figure that values The Microsoft Divine
Network at $625 million even though it likely won't begin
operation until August.
"We negotiated a fair valuation based on what we know today,"
Novello said in a Vatican conference call with reporters and
Mann said Microsoft had no current plans to take on
additional equity partners in the on-line business, "but
if the right deal or right partner came along we'd be open
POPE CELEBRATES CHRISTMAS MASS ON THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY
VATICAN CITY -- Pope John Paul II led the world's 960 million
Roman Catholics in Christmas celebrations Sunday at a midnight
mass that included prayers and praise for technology and the
More than 10,000 people, including members of the Vatican
Technology group, crowded into St. Peter's Basilica,
Christendom's largest church, for the traditional sung mass
broadcast live around the world.
They were joined on the information superhighway by a select
number of subscribers to the Microsoft Divine Network pilot, a
recently formed joint venture between the Redmond giant and the
Italian RAI cable communication network.
As is customary with the Christmas midnight mass, the pope's
homily centered on the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus.
The pope usually reserves his most powerful comments on world
events for his Christmas Day "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and
the world) blessing and message from the central balcony of
"During the night of the Lord's birth, the shepherds guarding
their flock in the fields round Bethlehem heard the words
inviting them to go to the place where the Child was laid,"
the 74-year-old pope said during the homily.
"An angel said to them, 'Behold, I bring you good news of
great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is
born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ
"The shepherds of Bethlehem are thus able to realize that
the way of salvation passes through the family. We too have
been able to realize this truth once more during this year
that is about to end...this year has been the year of
technology for the entire family."
The pope has often spoken this year in favor of the
traditional family and against what he says is a frontal
assault on its values by the technological revolution, and
praised Microsoft's Christian initiative to end world suffering.
He has repeatedly called on families to fight what he says
are their greatest enemies on the information superhighway:
"mushrooming sex-crazed user groups, pedofiles, gay and lesbian
militants, perverted adult stories", which the Pontiff credited
to the work of the devil.
The pope, looking healthy and alert, wore vestments of gold
and white to symbolize the message of joy and hope brought into
the world with Christ's birth in Bethlehem, complemented by a
discrete gold pin bearing the embossed logo of the new Microsoft
He also said during the electronically transmitted homily
that he had not forgotten those who were suffering behind
"We find ... happiness in the songs which from midnight
tonight are heard here in St. Peter's Basilica and throughout
the world, thanks to the marvels of technology" he said.
"They are heard even in the midst of censorship, as can be
confirmed by those experiencing interdictions to access
religious services...in other places where people have suffered
or continue to suffer. Joy at the birth of the son of God is
greater than suffering."
The Polish pope is celebrating his 17th Christmas season as
the Roman Catholic Church's supreme leader since his election
in October 1978. The electronic broadcast was the first time
a pope reached out to the information superhighway's virtual
Traditionally, tens of thousands of people flock to
St. Peter's Square on Christmas Day to listen to the "Urbi
et Orbi" message and hear the pope wish the world holiday
greetings in more than 50 languages.
For the first time in history this year, a select number of
subscribers to the Microsoft Divine Network pilot were able to
enjoy the Pontiff's message from behind their computer screens.
Lest you think that the trees grow too close together here
for anyone to have a sense of humor (i.e., MS's response to
MS-Catholic buy-out hoax), here's some excerpts from today's
"Seattle Times" (12/20/94):
"Church Mourns Miracle That Might Have Been"
(Starts saying a tongue-in-cheek response to the rumor came
from a Seattle Catholic spokersperson who was "profoundly
disappointed" MS doesn't want to buy the church.)
John McCoy, Public Affairs Director for the Seattle Archdiocese
said, "We could have had a material as well as a spiritual
"Offended?" said McCoy, " We thought our prayers had been
McCoy offered the following explanations why the union would
have been mutually beneficial:
"We've had 2,000 years of working with icons... Windows has
only done it for 3."
"I hear there's not much attention to dress at Microsoft...
We've got a clothing line that draws a crowd and dates back
McCoy also observered that "We'd love to have some computer
types with color laptops at our church bazaars...what an
alternative to the cake walk...and the fish pond."
Archbishop Thomas Murphy was unavailable for comment, McCoy
explained, "He's surfing in cyberspace."
IBM Raises Ante in Religious Software Biz:
Acquires Episcopal Church: Thursday, 12/1/94
The Chairman of IBM announced today that, in response to
Microsoft Corp.'s acquisition of the Roman Catholic Church,
IBM has bid for and acquired the Protestant Episcopal Church
in the United States of America for $1 billion.
"We are the oldest and most prestigeous computer company
in the world," he said, "and we cannot be seen to be lagging
behind in the race for preeminence in the religious software
and hardware markets. We have tendered an offer to the Most.
Rev. Edmund Browning, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
and Pamela Chinnis, President of the House of Deputies of
General Convention, and they have recommended acceptance to
the shareholders communicants."
The Episcopal Church is one of the oldest and most respected
denominations in the United States. Many current and former
officeholders, including many Presidents, have been
communicants. Although its membership was declining in recent
years, the latest figures show a slight increase in membership.
A combination with IBM will probably be beneficial in terms of
putting "fannies in the seats" in Episcopal Churches across the
There will also be great benefits to IBM in terms of
international connections through the Episcopal Church. The
Church is one of the most senior members of the international
Anglican communion by way of its separation from the Church of
England after the Revolutionary War and the consecration in
1784 of its first Bishop, Samuel Seabury. IBM hopes to gain a
foothold in the international religious business through these
connections, and perhaps tender a bid for the entire Anglican
Communion by the time of the next meeting of the world Anglican
bishops in London in 1998 (Lambeth Conference). The Archbishop
of Canterbury, George Carey, was unreachable for comment.
IBM and Episcopal Church are "good fit"
IBM has had the distinction of being the first and, up until
several years ago, the most successful computer company in the
world. It was founded by Herman Hollerith, the inventor of the
computer card, in the late 1800, and concentrated on business
machines such as adding machines and typewriters until the
invention of the computer in the 1940. They invested heavily
in this new technology, and became rich from selling and
maintaining them in the 1950's through 1980's.
However, IBM's stodgy corporate culture prevented it from
taking advantage of newer technology. It almost entirely missed
the value of personal computer technology in the late 1970's,
allowing other companies to use processes it developed to make
so-called "clone" personal computers. It therefore lost out on
billions of dollars spent on this technology over the past 15
IBM has recently spun off its typewriter and printer
businesses and concentrated on PC building and software, and
has even resorted to layoffs for the first time in its history.
The slogan, "No one was ever fired for buying IBM" has become
a bitter joke in the business world.
The Episcopal Church was, for a long time, considered the
most successful of the Protestant Churches in terms of wealth
and power. Many of the rich and famous swelled its numbers,
and its liturgy was noted for its archaic beauty as much as
its treasury was noted for its gilt-edged bonds.
However, in recent years, with the dying-off of the elderly
rich and the fall in the birth rate among the bluebloods who
remained, the Episcopal Church has suffered both a decline in
numbers and in influence and wealth. Notwithstanding the slogan,
"The Episcopal Church Welcomes You," numbers have only
recently begun to increase again as the Church begins to be
seen as a place where outcasts can take part in its life.
Along with IBM, the Episcopal Church has had to resort to
layoffs to balance its budget, and the merger will allow both
organizations to trim even further their personnel costs.
IBM's chairman said today, "We have been known as the place
where the white-coated mystics take charge of computers in
sealed rooms. As a direct result of this merger, our white-
coated mystic roster will be cut by half and merged with the
ordained ministry of the Episcopal Church. After all, they
also wear white garments when celebrating their mysteries.
The similarities outweigh the differences, and we think that
we can bring their white-suited mystics up to speed in JCL
and C++ within a few months."
The Presiding Bishop and Ms. Chinnis issued a joint statement
saying: "We welcome this merger as a meshing of two great but
sometimes old-fashioned institutions. The merger will allow us
to cut our technical staff by half again, and concentrate our
resources on becoming the largest and most successful Protestant
Church in the United States. Our first IBM mainframe is already
being installed in the basement of 816 Second Avenue, Church
Headquarters in New York."
They continued: "So that we can assure ourselves that the
Apostolic Succession will be continued, the Bishops of the
Episcopal Church will lay hands on the Board of IBM in a
ceremony at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York
City. Then, the entire House of Bishops will travel up to
Armonk, where they will be instructed in the use of the
The business writers of most US newspapers will join the
religion correspondents in recording this momentous occasion.
Both the business and the religious communities are awaiting
the new developments that this historic merger will make
His Eminence, Bill Gates, had no comment.
Microsoft Corporation has taken another step toward dominating every
aspect of American life with the introduction of Contraceptive98, a
suite of applications designed for users who engage in sex.
Microsoft has been a pioneer in peer-to-peer connectivity and plug
and play. It believes these technologies will give it substantial
leverage in penetrating the copulation enhancement market.
The product addresses two important user concerns: the need for virus
protection and the need for a firewall to ensure the non-propagation of
The Contraceptive98 suite consists of three products: Condom98,
DeFetus 1.0 (from Sementec), and AIDScan 2.1 (from Norton Utilities).
A free copy of Intercourse Explorer 4.0 is bundled in the package.
The suite also comes in two expanded versions. Contraceptive98
Professional is the Client/Server edition, for professionals in the
sexual services sector. Contraceptive98 Small Business Edition is a
package for start-ups, aimed at the housewife and gigolo niches.
While Contraceptive98 does not address non-traditional copulatory
channels, future plug-ins are planned for next year. They will be
known as BackDoor, AuraLee, TitElation, and JerkOff.
Only one node in a peer-to-peer connection needs to install the
package. At installation, the Condom98 software checks for minimum
hardware. If the user meets the requirements, the product installs
and is sufficiently scaleable to meet most requirements.
After installation, operation commences. One caution is that the
user must have sufficient RAM to complete the session. When the
session is complete, a disconnect is initiated, and the user gets
the message, It is now safe to turn off your partner.
Usability testers report that frequent failures were a major concern
during beta testing. General Protection Fault was the most serious
error encountered. Early versions had numerous bugs, but most of these
have been eliminated. The product needs to be installed each time its
Contraceptive98 is a robust product. Despite its drawbacks, it is
a reasonably good value for its $49.95 price tag, and is far superior
to its shareware version. Hopefully, future releases (of the software,
that is) will add missing functionality, such as Backout and Restore,
Uninterruptible Power Supply, and Onboard Camera. Microsoft CEO Bill
Gates is optimistic about Contraceptive98s potential.
He recently said, "Our contraceptive products will help users do
to each other what we've been doing to our customers for years."
In direct response to accusations made by the Department of Justice,
the Microsoft Corp. announced today that it will be acquiring the federal
government of the United States of America for an undisclosed sum.
"It's actually a logical extension of our planned growth", said
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, "It really is going to be a positive
arrangement for everyone". Microsoft representatives held a briefing in
the oval office of the White House with U.S. President Bill Clinton, and
assured members of the press that changes will be "minimal." The United
States will be managed as a wholly owned division of Microsoft. An
initial public offering is planned for July of next year, and the federal
government is expected to be profitable by "Q4 1999 at latest," according
to Microsoft president Steve Ballmer.
In a related announcement, Bill Clinton stated that he had "willingly
and enthusiastically" accepted a position as a vice president with
Microsoft, and will continue to manage the United States government,
reporting directly to Bill Gates. When asked how it felt to give up the
mantle of executive authority to Gates, Clinton smiled and referred to
it as "a relief." He went on to say that Gates has a "proven track
record," and that U.S. citizens should offer Gates their "full support
Clinton will reportedly be earning several times the $200,000 annually
he has earned as U.S. president, in his new role at Microsoft. Gates
dismissed a suggestion that the U.S. Capitol be moved to Redmond as
"silly," though did say that he would make executive decisions for the
U.S. government from his existing office at Microsoft headquarters.
Gates went on to say that the House and Senate would "of course" be
abolished. "Microsoft isn't a democracy," he observed, "and look how
well we're doing."
When asked if the rumoured attendant acquisition of Canada was
proceeding, Gates said, "We don't deny that discussions are taking
place." Microsoft representatives closed the conference by stating
that United States citizens will be able to expect lower taxes,
increases in government services and discounts on all Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ "MSFT") is the world-wide leader in
software for personal computers, and democratic government. The company
offers a wide range of products and services for public, business and
personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and
more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of
personal computing and free society every day.
About the United States
Founded in 1789, the United States of America is the most successful
nation in the history of the world, and has been a beacon of democracy
and opportunity for over 200 years. Headquartered in Washington, DC,
the United States is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation.