Transmeta's Secret Revealed!
Fake News written by on Sunday, November 14, 1999
The world anxiously awaits Linus Torvalds' keynote address at Comdex on Monday, when he is rumored to finally reveal what Transmeta is doing. The world can wait all it wants, but we here at Humorix know exactly what Transmeta is doing, thanks to an extensive six-month investigation of the company conducted by our Vast Spy Network(tm).
Transmeta, we discovered, is a hoax. It's an elaborate joke being played on the computer industry, and, ultimately, Wall Street. At Transmeta, every day is April Fool's Day.
The company has no product. They leak rumors about some kind of next-generation processor, but that's all smoke-and-mirrors. They have nothing except a website that's not here yet, a pile of venture capital, and, of course, Linus Torvalds.
Paul Allen founded the company years ago as an emergency financial cushion to fall back on just in case Microsoft crashes. Not only that, but he founded Transmeta as an elaborate joke to be played out on fellow investors, and to a certain extent, his old pal Bill Gates.
The name Transmeta means absolutely nothing. "Oh, we just tossed together some cool-sounding Latin roots," Paul Allen once said at a closed-door conference with VCs. "It's funny to watch all of the rumor mongers over at Slashdot and Usenet try to derive meaning from it."
Linus Torvalds was hired a few years ago to lend credibility (and free buzz and publicity) to the company. "Basically, we told Linus that we would pay him megabucks to sit around all day and hack on the Linux kernel. He had no job responsibilities at all, except to drop hints about the company but otherwise say nothing," the former Transmeta janitor told us. "In essence, Linux kernel development was funded by hoodwinked VCs."
Other employees are treated similarly. Most pass the time playing Quake or hacking on various Open Source project. Once in awhile they might brainstorm a ridiculous patent application, or release a 'rumor' to the media. The Transmeta webmaster (recently hired by Microsoft) had the most demanding job at the company, which isn't saying a whole lot.
On Monday, Linus will finally spill the beans about the company. "It's all been a wild hoax," he'll say before laughing for five minutes straight. Nevertheless, the company does plan to hold an IPO within the next year. "If a 'company' like LinuxOne can have an IPO, then Transmeta -- which actually has enormous brand recognition -- should be quite successful," Linus is expected to say.
Transmeta plans to make an actual product announcement in January. "We don't have anything right now," an anonymous employee told us. "But we'll think of something. We might team up with O'Reilly to produce a book like, 'The Official Transmeta Guide To Fooling Wall Street'."
There you have it. Transmeta has been engaged in an elaborate conspiracy to fool everybody. We here at Humorix would like to thank all of our sources who contributed to this exclusive report, including Bob, the former Transmeta janitor; Spy #423, who decoded a secret message hidden in the source code to the Transmeta website; Erik, who planted a bug inside the Transmeta conference room; and Rob, a friend of a friend of the boss of the wife of the UPS guy who once delivered a package to Transmeta.