Redmond Roundup

Fake News written by James Baughn on Monday, February 21, 2000

from the i-want-my-2000-panes-of-glass! dept.

Back in the early 1990s, Bill Gates promised that Microsoft would finally produce an enterprise-level operating system that worked perfectly. Ten years and 63,000 bugs later, that dream is still five Service Packs away. Nevertheless, Redmond's latest creation, Windows 2000, is now officially available. Public reaction has been mixed. Below is a roundup of events and responses surrounding the Win2K launch that our Vast Spy Network(tm) has collected.

I want my bugs!

An entymologist in Georgia is threatening to sue Microsoft over false advertising in Windows 2000. "According to Microsoft, Win2K contains 63,000 bugs," he explained. "However, the shrink-wrapped box I purchased at CompUSSR only had one cockroach along with some worthless papers and a shiny drink coaster. I got ripped off."

The entymologist hoped that the 63,000 promised bugs would greatly add to his insect collection. "I had my doubts that Microsoft could deliver 63,000 insects in one small box for only US$299," he said. "However, with a company as innovative as Microsoft, the sky is the limit. Or at least that's what I thought." He then asked angrily, "Where do I want to go today? Back to the store for a refund!"

Publicity gimmicks generate publicity

Microsoft teamed up with electronics superstore Conductor City to provide promotional specials to buyers who pre-ordered Windows 2000. All copies of Win2K were bundled with a specially designed Microsoft keyboard attachment containing only three keys: CTRL, ALT, and DEL. One happy customer said, "This is great... On my old keyboards, those three keys were the first to fail. Now with this attachment, I won't have to replace my main keyboard every month."

Conductor City also offered a special program to offset the high price tag of the full Windows 2000 product. CC partnered with the Third Bank of Timbuktu to offer a Rent-To-Own program to people who couldn't afford to pay cash upfront for the operating system. The store advertised, "Now you too can own the most innovative Microsoft product ever for only one dollar down and 10 cents a day!"

Another publicity stunt called ActiveXXX generated much publicity -- and tremendous sales. People who pre-ordered Windows 2000 and signed up with the Microsoft Network for one year received a special password allowing them access to MSN's new ActiveXXX site, featuring live video feeds from cameras placed on the chests of scantily-clad waitresses at Hooters restaurants.

Failure is not an option. It comes standard with every Windows installation.

Even though Win2K has only been on the market for less than a week, one high-profile failure of a mission-critical system has already occured. A Win2K machine at the US Postal Service went on a "cyber" killing spree over the weekend taking out several sub-servers (rumored to be running Linux) on its own network. Officials had no explanation for the violent outburst, saying that the computer had always been friendly and out-going to its fellow routers and hubs.

Windows 2000 isn't the only failure-prone Redmond system. Microsoft CuteJo®, the software giant's answer to Sony's $2,500 robotic dog AIBO, has been recalled due to a recent incident in which the Windows Powered(tm) pup mauled its owner. The company released a statement saying this issue does not reflect any critical defects in its product, and that it was the owner's fault when, in reading its users guide, the person said out loud in disbelief: "You can fetch? My ass!"

"It did exactly what the customer demanded," the release said.

Pigs are flying

Satan was forced to dawn a parka this week when a large number of people, including some Linux longhairs, admitted that "Windows 2000 doesn't suck [that much]". One Linux hacker said, "Let's be honest, certain Microsoft products do provide a quality unmatched by any competitor. Those Windows 2000 manuals make excellent doorstops. Linux books just don't work well in this regard; they aren't thick and heavy enough. Also, when it comes to drink coasters and skeet shoot targets, nothing even comes close to a Microsoft produced CD-ROM."

The new found respect for Windows 2000 is even evident on Slashdot, that bastion of anti-Microsoft zealotry. For instance, last week somebody posted a favorable comment about Win2K that actually got moderated up! This has never happened before in the history of Slashdot.

Even Usenet is turning slightly pro-Microsoft. One anonymous coward posted on alt.linux.finnish.conspiracy, "Windows 2000 rules... even the webmaster of, a new Linux portal site, prefers Win2K." Several people agreed, although one Linux advocate reponded, "So what? Linux rules... even the webmaster of, a new Windows site, prefers Linux and Apache."

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