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Subject Microsoft Acquires Mit

Topic: microsoft

Subject: Microsoft acquires MIT

Redmond WA and Cambridge MA, Mar 30 -- Microsoft Chairman William Gates announced today a multi-billion dollar research and academic support initiative in connection with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The complex transaction includes funding in support of directed research, stock gifts earmarked for endowment growth, uncommitted cash gifts, and Microsoft stock, stock options, and stock warrants. It has been the subject of secret negotiations between MIT and Microsoft for over a year.

Due to the varied types of financial instruments used in the transaction, negotiators cannot put an exact value on it, but it includes over $1.4 billion up front, and is expected to top $4.4 billion by early 2001. The funding reportedly comes from both Microsoft corporate coffers and the estimated $8 billion private fortune of Chairman Gates.

In a related announcement, MIT President Charles Vest hailed the bright new future the funding would usher in, and announced that the venerable institution would be changing its name to become the Microsoft Institute of Technology.

"Maintaining technical and research excellence into the next millennium is an unbelievably expensive proposition," said Vest. "With MIT's comparatively small endowment and the shrinking Federal support for research, we realized we could not go it alone. We welcome our new corporate partner."

"We are aware that this puts the future of many of our other corporate partnerships in doubt; however, this one partnership is worth many times the value of all our other partnerships combined," said Vest. He continued: "The name change is an insignificant issue. Duke did the same thing years ago to secure their future. Besides, we're still MIT, right?"

Gates pronounced himself "extremely satisfied" with the arrangement. "MIT has supplied us with many talented individuals; now perhaps students can become familiar with Microsoft earlier in their academic careers," he stated. "What's more, we gain unencumbered access to MIT's intellectual property; particularly their software patents, and prior art," Gates enthused; "Software is a unique form of invention. The name of the game there is proof of prior art. If you have that you can bust other people's patents and strengthen your own."

Elsewhere, in an informal talk on intellectual property, Microsoft Corporate spokeswoman April Shibboleth said that within a few years she expects Microsoft to become the world's largest law firm. "It's true our primary business is software," she said, "but the field is becoming more litigious daily. Our in-house law department is the fastest growing department in the company. If it stood alone it would be in the top 4% of law firms."

When asked if MIT was considering opening a School of Law, President Vest had no comment.


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