Not the News: Feds Seize Windows Source Code In Daring Raid

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(Macworld Wire Services) REDMOND, Wash. -- Protestors continued to clash with police in this sleepy Seattle suburb after a daring predawn raid in which armed federal agents stormed Microsoft headquarters and seized the source code for the Windows operating system.

The raid, ordered by Attorney General Janet Reno, came after months of contentious negotiations between the government and the software giant over antitrust allegations against Microsoft.

"We had tried to negotiate with the Microsoft family in good faith," Reno told reporters in Washington. "But their intransigent stand and refusal to propose a fair settlement left us with no choice but to act swiftly."

More than 150 armed federal agents descended upon Microsoft after first firing canisters of tear gas to disperse the crowd of denim-clad employees, Starbucks clerks and local grunge rockers who had formed a human chain around the Redmond campus. After securing the building, the agents found the Windows source code hiding in a closet, where an emotional Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was clutching it to his chest.

The Windows source code was immediately flown to Washington, where it was reunited with Juan Miguel Gonzalez.

"At last, I have been reunited with my beloved Windows source code," Gonzalez said through an interpreter. "At last, we have closure in this long dispute."

But the dispute appears far from over. An angry Bill Gates tearfully denounced a photograph depicting a joyous reunion between the Windows source code and Gonzalez, with Gates charging that the photo had been doctored.

"Look at the interface in the photo," said Gates, Microsoft's founder and chief technology officer. "It clearly doesn't have the robust features offered in Windows 2000. The Windows in that photo looks to me like version 3.1."

Some reporters noted that the interface looked more like the GUI of an early Mac. "Whatever," Gates said, as he vanished through a secret trap door.

Protestors also vowed that the fight was far from over.

"This time the government has gone too far," said Ariel Mayfeather, a coffee shop employee and one of the many local residents who has rallied behind Microsoft. "I haven't felt this ashamed to be an American since the day I received my liberal arts degree."

Government officials, however, stood by the move.

"I did not give the order, but I was informed of what was going on," said President Clinton, as he left a New York fund-raiser on his way to a fund-raising dinner in Philadelphia. "And I support Attorney General Reno's decision, especially since it does not appear to have affected my job approval ratings."

Reno said she had no regrets about the raid. Her press conference then ended suddenly, as federal agents surrounded the assembled reporters.

"I'm tired of all your 'How's the weather up there?' cracks," Reno said, before vanishing through a secret trap door.

Meanwhile, in Havana, Cuban officials celebrated the news that the Windows source code would soon return to their island nation.

"Viva Windows! Viva la revolucion! " said Cuban President Fidel Castro. "Now we have an operating system as elegant and efficient as our system of government."

Macworld's PHILIP MICHAELS ( pmichaels@macworld.com ) contributed to this phony report.

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