1994 Fools: Microsoft to Buy Catholic Church

From Bear@bearcave.dsm.ia.us Fri Dec 23 15:10:50 EST 1994
Article: 8968 of alt.journalism
Path: bigblue.oit.unc.edu!concert!rutgers!engr.orst.edu!osshe.edu 
From: Bear@bearcave.dsm.ia.us (Brad Meyers)
Date: 16 Dec 94 12:09:14 
Newsgroups: alt.journalism
Subject: Microsoft to Buy Catholic Church
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Organization: Fidonet: Your 'facts' have no bearing on my reality-Da Bear 
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From: Newswire Mailing
To: IS Daily News Services for Executives
Cc: Newswire Mailing
Subject: MICROSOFT: Bids to Acquire Catholic Church
Date: Tuesday, November 29, 1994 7:16AM

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 world religion.

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 worldwide.

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 strained.

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 behind.

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 home".

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 Gates.

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 religious market.


Copyright (c) 1994 Knight-Ridder / Tribune Business News
Received via NewsEDGE from Desktop Data, Inc.: 03/07/94 19:20

---------- [ But wait.. there's more! Our Vatican correspondent sent these: ]


From: sarducci@vatican.rai.net
Subject: Vatican news


   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 on-line 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 superhighway.
   "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 powerful thing."
   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 analysts.
   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 to that."


   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 family.
   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 the Basilica.
   "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 Lord'.
   "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 Divine Network.
   He also said during the electronically transmitted homily that he
   had not forgotten those who were suffering behind their screens.
   "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 crowd.
   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.


From stevemc@eskimo.com Fri Dec 23 16:02:17 EST 1994
Article: 83294 of alt.folklore.computers
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers
Path: bigblue.oit.unc.edu!concert!rutgers!att-out
From: stevemc@eskimo.com (Steve McCallister)
Subject: Catholic Church Proves Someone Still has Sense of Humor
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Date: Wed, 21 Dec 1994 07:26:56 GMT
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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 answered."

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 two

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."


From tristan@news.dorsai.org Mon Dec 26 15:40:48 EST 1994
Article: 2624 of alt.internet.media-coverage
Newsgroups: alt.internet.media-coverage
Path: bigblue.oit.unc.edu!concert!hearst.acc.Virginia.EDU!caen
From: tristan@news.dorsai.org (Net-Runner)
Subject: Re: Microsoft OFFICIALLY denies Vatican hoax!
Message-ID: <D19xs0.8ux@dorsai.org>
Sender: news@dorsai.org (Keeper of the News)
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Date: Fri, 23 Dec 1994 17:26:24 GMT
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Before anybody puts this up in a magazine, I thought I should mention 
that it is a counterspoof :)

     From: Newswire Mailing 
     To: IS Daily News Services for Executives  
     Cc: Newswire Mailing 
     Subject: IBM Raises Ante in Religious Software Biz: Acquires
              Episcopal Church  
     Date: Thursday, 12/1/94
     For Immediate Release
          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 United States.
          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 years.
          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 personal computer."
          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 possible.
          His Eminence, Bill Gates, had no comment.
     Copyright (C) 1994 Christian P. Hansen. May be reproduced with 
     credit. hansen@quantime.co.uk

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