Monday, April 25, 2005

Microsoft to Unveil Caste System

Reorganization tied to new ‘Hate Something’ marketing campaign

Special to CNN

REDMOND, WA -- When Microsoft withdrew its long-running support for a Washington state bill banning discrimination against gays, it received widespread criticism for allegedly caving in to demands by African American evangelicals who opposed the legislation.

In a confidential email sent to top Microsoft executives, CEO Steve Ballmer hailed the resulting press coverage as a “public relations coup” that had generated “more exposure for the Microsoft brand than anything since the launch of Windows 95.”

In the memo, obtained from sources who asked to remain anonymous, Ballmer proposes a new “Hate Something” marketing campaign to capitalize on the bigotry craze currently sweeping the nation. The memo also outlines Ballmer’s plans to reorganize the $37 billion software giant into a caste system.

Starting in January 2007, the company will combine its Internet, gaming, consumer, and enterprise software divisions into three groups:

  • Pasty. This group will consist of nearly all of Microsoft’s management team, including all the billionaires and most of the millionaires on payroll. They will now occupy buildings A1 and C26 on the software giant’s sprawling Redmond campus.

  • Harlequin. This smaller caste will consist of any employees claiming or suspected to be of mixed race. To avoid possible confusion, the group will include anyone who maintains a tan in the dreary Northwest climate.

  • Darkies. The largest group at Microsoft includes approximately 20,000 software engineers currently holding H-1B visas. They will be allowed full access to lavatories and public facilities in all buildings (except for A1 and C26) between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am.

In the memo Ballmer denied the company was under pressure from leaders of gay rights organizations to deny equal status to people of color. He emphasized that all groups would be treated the same, though the Pasty group would still receive 98% of Microsoft stock options.

When news of the memo became public, however, local gay activists claimed victory. “Microsoft obviously agrees that there can only be one group of victims in this society, and we are it,” says Rev. Fay Manley, pastor of the Church of Moral Superiority (

Ballmer emphasized that the reorganization would not affect Microsoft’s ability to produce world-class software favored by hackers the world over.


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