} REDMOND, Wash (UPI) - Software and marketing giant Microsoft
} Corporation (MSFT) announced today that it has purchased the Solar
} "It was a natural outgrowth of our corporate policy," commented John
} Smackwine, Microsoft Director of Misinformation. "We were sitting
} around, having a few beers, wondering what we should buy next.
} Someone joked, 'Everything!'"
} Smackwine continued, "We all laughed, but then we saw Bill's face,
} and we knew we'd be on the phone the next morning."
} A senior official at NASA praised the move, stating, "This could
} well improve the financial situation with regard to exploration
} and exploitation of space resources. We welcome the private sector
} into space." Others, however, are worried about the possibility of
} exorbitant fees simply to observe the other planets.
} Initially, there are no plans to change the current operation of
} the Solar System, although it is rumoured that projects are in the
} pipeline to reduce the duplication and inefficiency so abhorrent to
} modern corporate structures. "Although I can neither confirm or deny
} any of these rumours," said Smackwine, "it is true that Microsoft
} intends to drag the Solar System, kicking and screaming, into the
} current Galactic Year."
} Suggested improvements include a reduction in the number of gas giants,
} and a correction to the orbit of Pluto to ensure that the outermost
} planet does not wander inside the orbit of Neptune.
} "That's always irritated Bill," commented one insider. "If it _is_
} the outermost planet, it should stay there."
} These rumours have alarmed astrologers, who claim that any reduction in
} the number of planets could have a serious impact on their profession.
} Legal advice is being taken to see whether a class action suit would
} be advisable in the event of any major changes being implemented.
} No one at the Flat Earth Society was available for comment.
} You owe the Oracle an automatic "Microsoft Acquires" answer generator.