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Some users say typewriter 95 crashes too often. Gigglebytes hed: The ultimate dek: Microsoft’s greatest leap forward. dek: some users say typewriter 95 crashes too often.

SEATTLE, July 3, 1883

William H. Gates I today announced the release of his company’s latest product, Microsoft Typewriter. “This is going to be insanely great!” Gates proclaimed at the press conference. “Today is the dawn of a new information age. The written word will finally enter the world of the horse and buggy.”

The Microsoft Typewriter is a cast-iron machine about the size of a breadbox. Press one of its many keys, and it will print the corresponding letter or number onto an inserted piece of paper. Bragged Gates, “Just try doing that with an ordinary breadbox.”

Not everyone is impressed with the Microsoft Typewriter, however. Critics have pointed out that it is extremely similar to the Remington typewriter introduced a decade ago. “It has the same basic function and uses a similar mechanism,” said author and Remington fan Sam Clemens after playing a bit with the new machine. “It even has the same look and feel.”

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 4, 1895

Microsoft’s latest offering, Typewriter 95, is already generating considerable controversy. While many users find it a major improvement over Typewriter 3.1, others insist that the new version is unstable, nonintuitive, and incompatible with much of today’s paper.

The industry reached a standard of 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper more than 20 years ago, but Typewriter 95 cannot take paper wider than 8 3/8 inches. According to Microsoft spokesman Jimmy (Boss) Tweed, it’s all about size. “By shaving that extra eighth-inch off of the drum, we’re able to reduce Typewriter’s size by well over one percent,” he said.

“Convenient story, isn’t it?” responds consumer advocate Lincoln Steffens. “Microsoft owns the Excel & Word Paper Pulp Co., the only paper company in the world currently manufacturing 8 3/8-inch paper.”

Excel & Word shipped its first ream of the new size paper the same day Microsoft released Typewriter 95. “We’ve been completely open about the new standard,” Tweed argues. “Give us three months and we’ll publish the almost-complete specs.”

Other users complain that Typewriter 95 crashes too frequently. Says Susan Beeth, a housewife and professional typist in New York City, “You should see the dents it’s made in my floor.”

SOUTH BEND, Ind., Oct. 5, 1896

Yesterday, the Borland Paper Co. became the fifth wood pulp corporation to fold in as many weeks. Like many competitors of the Microsoft-owned Excel & Word Paper Pulp Company, it had taken Borland eight months to ship a workable 8 3/8-inch stock based on Microsoft’s specifications.

Borland had lost most of its customer base to Excel & Word paper during that time. It was just beginning to gain back market share when Microsoft last month released Typewriter 95 NMD (Not Much Different). NMD’s primary new feature-Extended Address Space-requires paper that is 8 1/4-inch wide. Borland has been unable to produce the new paper.

MENLO PARK, N.J., October, 1898

At a press conference in his laboratories, inventor Thomas Edison complained bitterly yesterday about Microsoft’s inclusion of a phonograph, dubbed Sound Player Backer, in Typewriter 98. “Microsoft is making a clear and wholly unfair attempt to muscle in on my monopoly,” Edison said.

“We couldn’t remove it if we wanted to,” said Microsoft spokesman Tweed. “Typewriter 98 is built on top of the Sound Player Backer. You take one out and the other falls down.

“A product like Typewriter has to continually expand to fill our customers’ needs,” Tweed continued. “Fifteen years ago, people were satisfied with a machine that helped them write, that-if you’ll excuse the term-processed words. But these days they expect their Typewriter to let them talk to someone far away, add and subtract figures, and play music. If we didn’t supply them with these capabilities, our competitors would.”

This reporter pointed out to Tweed that Microsoft had wiped out virtually every company that could be called a competitor. “Precisely,” he replied. “That’s why we had to add a phonograph to take out Edison.”

REDMOND, Wash., July, 1901

Microsoft stunned the world today with the announcement of its next up-and-coming all-in-one machine, Microsoft Typewriter XXX (Extensive, Exhaustive, Exasperating).

Among the many new features announced for Typewriter XXX will be increased color capabilities (ribbons will be available in red and black), improved video thanks to the addition of a light bulb, and support for Excel & Word’s new 8 1/2-inch paper. Typewriter will also be crash-proof, thanks to Microsoft’s new temperature-enhanced atmospheric container technology. Each Typewriter unit will be suspended on a hot-air balloon.

With version XXX, Microsoft is also revamping Typewriter’s user interface. “Our studies have shown that people who have never typed before are confused by the layout of the keys. We’ve experimented with other layouts, but they all seem to confuse novices. So we’ve created a new layout for Typewriter XXX that’s no more confusing than the last one.”

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