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Monday, December 1 12:00 AM ET

Ballmer Admits Vista Biggest Practical Joke He's Ever Pulled

By Brian Briggs

Redmond, WA – Steve Ballmer announced today at a press conference in Redmond that Windows Vista was “the biggest practical joke he's ever pulled.”

Ballmer said the elaborate hoax, which took thousands of employees, years of secrecy and millions of dollars to pull off successfully, was “right up there with the Zune and Windows ME.”

“I can't believe how many people fell for it,” said Ballmer. “I mean didn't they have a clue when it launched without many drivers? And really, Windows Vista Home Premium? You didn't get that? What did I have to call it, Windows Vista Home Premium Deluxe Platinum Version? Would you have gotten it then?”

Ballmer, long known as a practical joker, has been pulling off many more pranks these days now that Bill Gates has left his day-to-day position at Microsoft. “Without Gates around, there's no one here to keep him in check,” said one company insider.

Ballmer admitted that actually releasing the OS may have taken the joke a bit too far, but he never thought anyone would take it seriously. He added reassurances that Windows 7 was “not a joke.”

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Many Microsoft fans were relieved by the news. “I'm glad to hear it was just a joke,” said longtime Windows user Paul Thurston. “I was beginning to think that the company had lost its much heralded sense of humor.”

Mark Starkovitch, who follows Microsoft for Merrill Lynch, said, “The greatest trick that Ballmer ever pulled was convincing the world that Vista exists.”

Ballmer ended the press conference by honking a horn twice, spraying the crowd with a seltzer bottle then driving off in a tiny car with twenty other Microsoft executives.

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