QWERTYUIOP, WA /DenounceNewswire/ -- June 21, 1998 -- Within hours of IBM's announcement of its $5.7 billion acquisition of the Apache web server, the most popular server for World Wide Web sites, Microsoft today announced that it is acquiring Linux, the free operating system originally developed by Linus Torvalds and a motley group of worldwide programmers, for $18 billion.

Mr. Torvalds, who recently joined a startup called Transmeta Corporation in Santa Clara, CA, will personally receive $8 billion in cash and Microsoft stock, instantly making him one of the richest people in Santa Clara. The rest of the money will be divvied up among the many contributors to Linux, as well as 17 commercial companies which market Linux including Caldera, Debian, DLX, Red Hat Software, Slackware, Stampede, S.u.S.E, and Yggdrasil Computing. All of the employees, officers, and directors of these companies will immediately become Microsoft employees.

Transmeta, which is partly funded by the billionaire (and Microsoft co-founder) Paul Allen, will continue employing Mr. Torvalds, although, both parties agree it's kind of silly, now that he's going to be so rich.

Asked why he was willing to pay so much money for the operating system, Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, said, "It isn't a lot of money at all. It's nothing." Asked again, he said, "You heard what I said, now stop bothering me." Asked once more, he replied, "Ok look, sure we're shelling out $18 billion, but think about it: every person who is currently using, or who has ever used, the Linux operating system will immediately need to pay Microsoft $1,995.00, annually. Consider that there are over 10 million installations of Linux worldwide. Do the math. We'll collect almost $20 billion in the first year alone."

The Linux acquisition could pose a problem for IBM, which recently shelled out billions for the Apache web server. Apache runs most commonly on Linux machines. Now, Apache will be running on a Microsoft operating system. "It's like a high-stakes game of chess," said Indu Strypundit, an industry pundit. "And like usual, we computer users are the pawns."

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