11:35 PM

Bill Gates To Face Jon Stewart

After the big consumer Vista launch, Bill Gates will share the fake news desk with Comedy Central's Jon Stewart.

Bill Gates sharing the fake news desk with Jon Stewart? You gotta catch that. And you can next Monday night The Seattle PI confirmed the appearance on Stewart's Daily Show.

That'll be after Monday's New York press event where Gates and Steve Ballmer are slated to speak. there's no mention of Jim Allchin on the press confirmation e-mail.

It'll be interesting to see if Stewart goes easy on Microsoft's technology and its checkered past vis-a-vis business practices. At least one of Stewart's proteges has been pretty hard on the company, at least in passing.

Example: Steven Colbert last month discussed the controversy over Sea-Tac Airport's removing Christmas Trees after a rabbi asked that the airport add a menorah to the display.

Colbert ruled that out. If Sea-Tac caved in to the good rabbi, it would also have to display symbols for the other cultures residing in the Pacific northwest. That would mean they'd have to mount a representation for Grunge Band Holy Day of Moping; Starbucks Grande Day; and Microsoft's Spend-Your-Entire-Day-Installing-Printer-Drivers Day.

Speaking of the Big M, the rank-and-file there is feeling a little cramped of late. A recent hiring binge in has left even veterans doubled and tripled up in offices. Suffice it to say that many are not enjoying that forced familiarity.

One of the company's new hires--who will presumably have private digs-- is Donald Ferguson aka Mr. WebSphere, who joined Microsoft earlier this year as a "fellow." (For some mysterious reason Ferguson's bio has evaporated from the Microsoft presspass site—at least as late January 24th, but presumably this is a mistake.)

At any rate, Ferguson will not, as has been reported, be working directly with Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's Chief Software Architect, but rather with CTO David Vaskevitch, insiders say.

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