[original] MICROSOFT TO SUE SATIRISTS Software Giant Claims Libel By Gregory L. Owen United Press REDMOND, WA - Microsoft today announced that it will be seeking legal action against the authors of recent satirical articles which have targeted the software giant. "Microsoft Corporation will not stand for the falsehoods being spread on the global Internet," said Microsoft Legal Department lawyer Alan Presel. Recent satires mimicking news service reports have attributed Microsoft with purchasing the Catholic Church, trademarking all uses of the name Bob, and negotiating a grinch-like deal with Santa Claus for ownership of the Christmas holiday. The phony articles have been spreading like wildfire over the global Internet, or the "Information Superhighway" as it has been called. Passing from person to person via mail and news delivery systems, they quickly saturate the net and don't go away for months, if ever. Asked why Microsoft felt legal action necessary, Presel replied, "Its gone beyond the level of a joke. The article claiming that Microsoft had trademarked the name Bob was later described as a hoax, indicating that a large number of people originally believe these articles. We also believe that the credibility these articles achieve makes them subject to libel laws." But has Microsoft really been hurt by these articles? Presel claims that they have. "It hasn't hurt our bottom line," he says, "but it is costing the company the man-hours it takes to deal with these fallacies, as well as trivializing our corporation. Microsoft's image is being threatened here." To back his claim, Presel showed accounting of time the legal department had spent rebuffing an attempted countersuit by Cornell student Bob Dorich. Dorich notified Microsoft of his intention to sue over their trademarking of the name Bob, claiming prior art on the part of his parents. Dorich dropped the lawsuit once he was convinced Microsoft was not trying to trademark the name. Bill Gates, co-founder and CEO of Microsoft Corp., was not present at the press release. "Mr. Gates feels his credibility has suffered from these articles," said Microsoft Press Liaison Richard Katz. "There have been fake quotes attributed to him in these ridiculous articles, and he has opted to take a less prominent position in news releases. We feel that people may begin to equate quotes from Mr. Gates with phony articles."
(From the "Rest" of RHF)