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Company Says It's Not Behind Spate of Charitable Works Stories in Press

REDMOND, WASH. ( — Microsoft today denied it is attempting to win leniency from the courts by waging a PR campaign extolling the virtues of chairman Bill Gates. Company spokesperson Miranda Magdeleine insisted Microsoft would never expect the court to be influenced by Gates' "infinite compassion," nor by his "occasional" episodes of bleeding from the hands and feet.

"On the contrary," said Magdeleine, "the Virgin Mary has often pleaded with Mr. Gates to shun notoriety for his good works because, as she puts it, she 'doesn't want to lose another one.'"

The Sequel to Gates' Bestseller

Despite this alleged counsel, however, Gates' altruism has somehow managed to make recent headlines; most notably, his charitable foundation, which has given away nearly $22 billion.

"But it's not an issue we like to discuss," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, speaking at a press conference specifically called not to discuss the topic. "If Bill selflessly gives unto others so that the burdens of the world be made as harmless as doves, that's between him and his Father."

Magdeleine, meanwhile, said she had no knowledge of rumors traced to Microsoft's intranet that "The Shepherd" -- as Gates is known in Redmond -- was nominated for 'venerable' status with the Roman Catholic Church. Venerable is the first step toward canonization and sainthood.

However, a Vatican spokesman confirmed an application has been received. The Holy See, according to Cardinal Antonio Valencio, is impressed with the amount of money Gates has donated to charities, but has questions about the validity of the application.

"It's mostly this one note they've included from an ophthalmologist who says Mr. Gates is being treated for stigmata," Valencio said. "It appears to us as if this was altered, and originally said 'astigmatism.'"

Confronted with the Vatican's allegation, Microsoft vice president Paul Moritz refused to discuss Gates' physical condition. However, he added, "I will tell you this. During board meetings, I have seen Bill hover in the air a good 20 feet off the ground while praying. But you know what? He always comes back down to wash our feet."

Gates, who Magdeleine said was busy planning a supper party for 12 of his top aides, was unavailable for comment.


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