1995 Fools: PRESS RELEASE: Microsoft Announces Revolutionary New Product
From jwebb@axis.org Sun Apr  2 15:29:58 EDT 1995
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From: jwebb@axis.org (James Webb)
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Subject: PRESS RELEASE: Microsoft Announces Revolutionary New Product
Date: 1 Apr 1995 02:12:03 GMT
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Axis Press

Microsoft Announces Revolutionary New Product

It has long been rumored that Microsoft's dominant position in the software 
industry must be due to some secret in-house 'killer' development environment,
but it wasn't until today that proof of the existence of such a system became
publicly available. The timing of the release coincides with a recent
unfavorable court decision and appears to be an attempt to ameliorate relations
with the Department of Justice.

Sources inside Microsoft say that the system, codenamed Verbatim, was never
intended for release. Moreover, according to their contractual agreements, staff
alluding to the existence of Verbatim could expect to be forced to relinquish
their positions without notice, precluded from working in any computing-related
industry for at least ten years, and sued for the sum of their entire asset

However, this has all changed with the announcement of Microsoft Word for Word,
version 1.0. According to Microsoft spokesperson Roger Yutudeth, WfW provides a
"total software conversion service". By application of a brute-force comparison
algorithm with all possible programs, any binary file can be reconstituted into
a form that is usable as part of a Microsoft product. With WfW, Microsoft has
produced such success stories as Windows, Word, Excel, and in fact everything 
else in their product line. And what about those 'miserable few lines' that are
identical to code from Apple's Quicktime? "Nah," snorts Yutudeth, "that was too
hard. In the end, we just stole that stuff."

Doesn't the exhaustive search nature of WfW constitute a serious performance
degradation? "Yes, that's true. Have you noticed how the performance of Windows
products is a trifle slow?" asked Yutudeth, conspiratorially. Agonisingly slow,
yes. "Well, that's because WfW was incorporated into every application we wrote.
It spent 80% of the CPU time searching the hard drive for competing
applications, applying the WfW algorithm to them, and then subtly trashing them.
What you thought was virtual memory thrashing was actually background re-
engineering, and all those undocumented system calls were used whenever our
engineers wanted to download the results from your network."

Couldn't this release endanger Microsoft's competitive edge? Yutudeth pales
noticeably. "Competitive edge? Are you trying to be funny?" Well, monopoly
position, then. "Of course not. Now, we'll be able to coerce more people than
ever into writing Microsoft-only products, because they know that anything they
write for another platform can be pirat...er...reproduced for the Windows suite
by anybody".

A First Glance at Word for Word

We were given just a brief 24 weeks to test WfW (18 of which were spent on 
system startup), so we only managed to try it out on Apple's System 7.0. The 
result was a trifle unexpected: a point-and-click version of Solitaire.
it to System 7.5 resulted in a version that allowed unlimited cycling through 
the deck of cards. When questioned about these results, Yutudeth said "I'm sure 
that it's abundantly clear to everyone that Microsoft is committed to improved 

Product Synopsis: Microsoft Word for Word 1.0
Price:  base cost: $999,999,999,999.95
  licencing costs: $0.50 per ASCII character of WfW-generated code
Minimum Requirements:
  1 mid-range Unix-based machine or 10^100 networked Microsoft Servers
  1.800000640 GB of RAM (extra required for DOS)
  220.000000000028 TB of Disk (extra required for COMMAND.COM)
  $70,000,000 per year in legal fees (projected)

David Norman
"Of course, I see things like this" - from the Young Ones