SEATTLE, WA -- In a move that would make a corporate giant even bigger,
Microsoft, the world's largest computer software company, has decided to
go ahead with it's plan to acquire the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church, the third largest religious organization in the
world, behind the Christian and Islamic religions, has agreed to sell
all of it's assets to Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and C.E.O., for a
church record $57 billion.

The move has many in the software industry talking about how they can
make similar moves with other major religions.  IBM is currently talking
to the Islamic leaders about how they could produce a joint-product,
possible a software that saves your soul and does your taxes for you.
Other possible mergers include Davidson software, a relatively small
company compared with Microsoft and IBM, joining forces with Buddhists
around the world, and the moderately large Electronic Arts company,
which sells software for both personal computers and various video game
systems, teaming up with Jehovah's Witnesses, so that their products
could be sold door to door early on weekend mornings.

Nobody, however, could be more happy than Gates himself, who says that
he plans to take the revenues received from church collection plates and
buy himself a new personal jet.

The Pope, the leader of the Catholic Church, is also very happy with the
developments.  "Maybe now I can buy a decent Bible," he said to a crowd
of over 200,000 at the Vatican on Friday.  "Look at this thing!  It's
falling apart.  I'd be lucky to get $.25 for it at the Vatican garage
sale later this month."

The long-term plans for the Catholic church, outlined by Gates on
Friday, will be to bring the church into the 21st century, by putting in
stained-glass-block windows, having Nike provide the church choir
outfits, and by "getting rid of that whole =91Lent=92 thing."

"All in all this is a very good plan for all of us," said Gates.  "I
look forward to a very long and happy communion with the church, and
hope that somehow this gets me into heaven."

1998 Deadline News.  All Rights Reserved.