In the course of researching my book Just Say No to Microsoft, I wasted considerable time pouring through the Microsoft humor sites looking at Bill Gates pie-in-the-face videos (here’s one), silly cartoons, jokes, fake news stories, and even a Bill Gates pie-in-the-face game. The best collection I found is Brian’s Microsoft Humor Page. My favorites:
Microsoft Hires Pope, Gets Religion
Around Christmas 1994, a prankster posted a fake news report online that Microsoft had acquired the Catholic Church. “If the deal goes through, it will be the first time a computer software company has acquired a major world religion,” stated the phony news report, which was datelined Vatican City and attributed to the Associated Press (AP). “With the acquisition, Pope John Paul II will become the senior vice-president of the combined company’s new Religious Software Division.”
“We expect a lot of growth in the religious market in the next five to 10 years,” Microsoft chairman Bill Gates was quoted as saying in the fake report, re-posted on the Annoyances.org humor site and credited to Hank Vorjes. “‘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.’ The deal grants Microsoft exclusive electronic rights to the Bible and the Vatican’s prized art collection.”
According to the fake report, Microsoft would make the sacraments available online and revive the popular pre-Counter-Reformation practice of selling indulgences. According to Gates, “You can get Communion, confess your sins, receive absolution — even reduce your time in Purgatory — all without leaving your home.”
An estimated 17,000 people attended the announcement in St. Peter’s Square and watched host-comedian Don Novello — in character as Father Guido Sarducci — on a 60-foot screen. The event, so the parody went, was broadcast by satellite to 700 sites worldwide. In his address, Gates described Microsoft’s long-term strategy to develop a scalable religious architecture that would support all religions through emulation. A single core religion would be offered, with a choice of interfaces according to the religion desired. The phony story quoted Gates as saying it would consist of “One religion, a couple of different implementations.”
Microsoft released a humorless statement denying the acquisition and denouncing the report as a fake.
Another humor site I visited offered a response from the Archdiocese of Seattle, which may or may not have appeared in the Bellevue Journal-American:
Seattle, Washington: Microsoft Corporation wasn’t very amused last week by the fake story about it supposedly acquiring the Catholic Church, but the phony news account didn’t bother the Archdiocese of Seattle, which issued a tongue-in-cheek response Monday.
“We could have had a material as well as a spiritual Christmas,” joked John A. McCoy, public affairs director for the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle. “We could have had a software bonanza in the collection basket.”
Church officials pretended to be disappointed by Microsoft’s formal denial Friday of a fake story floating around the Internet that said it would buy the Roman Catholic Church. The archdiocesan public affairs office faxed a press release to the local media with the headline “Church Hopes Dashed as Microsoft Denies Acquisition Bid.”
The release listed several reasons why a church- Microsoft deal might have been beneficial. The church, for example, might have helped Microsoft develop better icons for its software programs.
“We’ve had 2,000 years of working with icons. Microsoft Windows has only done it for three. We could have helped,” the release read.
“We’re trying to show that the Catholic church has a sense of humor,” McCoy explained.Archbishop Thomas Murphy was not quoted in the release, but he approved it before it was faxed to the media, McCoy said.
No One Expects the Microsoft Acquisition!
Microsoft announced that it, like thousand of computer users everywhere, was tired of spoofs of Microsoft Acquires. Users of the internet have been bombarded in recent months by spoof announcements of “Microsoft Acquires.” Recent announcements have included Microsoft acquiring Christmas, the year 1995, and the Vatican. Therefore, Microsoft spokesmen announced today that they had acquired the rights to all further “Microsoft Acquires” announcements. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said, during a brief appearance at the announcement, “Everytime someone puts one of those d&mned ‘Microsoft Announces’ spoofs on the net, 300 people forward it to me. This should put a stop to that. And really, they’re not that funny. They’re just not.”
Of course they all contains the classic joke, “If Microsoft built cars…”
Every time they repainted the lines on the road you would have to buy a new car.
Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason, and you would just accept this, restart and drive on.
Occasionally, executing a maneuver would cause your car to stop and fail and you would have to re-install the engine. For some strange reason, you would accept this too.
The oil, gas, and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single “general car fault” warning light.
New seats would force everyone to have the same size butt.
The airbag system would say “are you sure?” before going off.
If you were involved in a crash, you would have no idea what happened.
Not to mention the perennial:
How many Microsoft programmers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None. They’ve declared “darkness” a standard.
— from Annoyances.org