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Microsoft parodies abound

There is plenty of comic relief on the Net for those needing a break from Microsoft's legal wrangling, browser bugs, and other issues.

Let's face it: who couldn't use a little relief from all the news about Microsoft's legal wrangling, browser bugs, and other assorted issues?

Fortunately, there are enough parodies of Microsoft, its products, and chief Bill Gates to keep fed-up Netizens busy for hours. Added to that list today is the latest spoof from Parroty Interactive, Microshaft Winblows.

Unlike many less polished mock sites, Parroty offers links to several mock pages within the site and refrains from using foul language and referencing bodily functions. The site is a sample of the soon-to-be-released eponymous joke CD-ROM.

Designed to look like the giant's home page, every word on the site has been replaced with a spoof: from the greeting "Wealthcom to Microshaft--how do you want to pay today?" to the link to the browser, Microshaft Internet Exploiter.

Winblows also has games, email post cards, and links to other parody sites.

But there are many places online that make fun of Microsoft, and they vary in quality as well as in theme.

There are the inevitable sites that marry Microsoft and Star Trek, such as Microsoft: The Next Generation and Star Trek Meets Microsoft. The former asks the burning question: "Ever wonder what Star Trek: The Next Generation would be like in a future where Microsoft continued to dominate the software market?" The latter is a script of a scene in which the Borg is brought to its knees when the Enterprise crew installs Windows on its computers.

For the more literary-minded, there's Stale, a parody of the ill-fated Microsoft-owned 'zine Slate. Unlike many spoof sites, this one takes great pains to match its object in content. In fact, the introduction (by editor Michael Kindling) takes several passages seemingly verbatim.

For those more focused on making fun of Bill Gates, there are a host of sites that take aim at him specifically. For example, the Bill Gates Net Worth Page breaks down Gates's vast fortune into more than a dozen views: how long it would take to spend it, how high the pile of bills would be if stacked, how much Gates could give each person in the United States, and others.

After visiting the various sites measuring, counting, and stacking up Gates's wealth, the next logical step might be the Punch Bill Gates page. Or, for calmer Netizens, there is the rebellious SPOGGE: Society for the Prevention of Bill Gates Getting Everything.

Finally, for those who want a constant anti-Microsoft reminder, there are several to choose from at the Joke Wallpaper site.