Product Announcement from Microsoft
Redmond, WA -- Microsoft Corporation chairman Bill Gates announced yesterday the introduction of a new exception handler routine for Windows Vista: Microsoft Panhandler.
"The idea came to me the other day when a homeless man asked me for some spare change," recalls Gates. "I suddenly realized that we were missing a golden opportunity. Here was a chance to make a profit without any initial monetary investment! Naturally, this man then became my competition, so I had my limo driver run over him several times."
Microsoft engineers have been working around the clock to complete Gates' vision of panhandling. "We feel that our program designers really understand how the poor and needy situation works," says Microsoft Homeless product leader Bernard Liu. "Except for the fact that they're all stinking rich. Well, except for the new hires."
Microsoft Panhandler will be automatically installed with the new Windows Vista operating system, which is only six months behind schedule at this point. At random intervals, a dialog box pops up, asking the user if they could spare any change so that Microsoft has enough money to get a hot meal. "This is a little lie," admits software engineer Adam Miller, "since our diet consists of Coke and Twinkies, but what panhandler doesn't embellish a little?" The user can click 'Yes', in which case a random amount of change (between $.05 and what Gates considers "small pocket change" -- $8,142.50 -- is transferred from the user's bank account to Microsoft's. The user can also click 'No', in which case the program politely tells the user "God bless you!" The 'No' button has not yet been implemented.
"We're experiencing a little trouble programming the 'No' button," Liu says, "but we should definitely have it up and running within the next couple of years. Or at least by the time the next version of Windows comes out, but we don't anticipate that version will be late."
Gates says this is just the start of an entire line of products. "Be on the lookout for products like Microsoft Mugging, which either takes $50 or erases your hard drive, and Microsoft Squeegee Guy, which will clean up your Windows for a dollar." When Microsoft Squeegee Guy ships, Windows Vista will no longer automatically refresh your windows.
But there are competitors on the horizon. Sun Microsystems and Oracle are introducing panhandler extensions of their own. "Gates is a few tacos short of a combination platter, if you get my drift," says Oracle's Larry Ellison. "I mean, in the future, we won't need laptop computers asking you for change.
Posted February 15, 2006