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Saturday, 19 June 2004

image for Stephen Hawking sues Microsoft for copying his voice
See! Wearing spectacles does make you more intelligent.

World-famous cosmologist and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has today filed a lawsuit against Microsoft Corporation for unlawful replication of his trademark computerised voice.

Professor Hawking has decided to sue the software giant on the grounds that his voice is his intellectual property and that its replication has closed the door on a number of potential career paths, above all ending any prospects he may have had in the music industry.

The great professor's actions follow Microsoft's recent addition of voice recognition and 'text to speech' software on its 'Windows XP' operating systems. The latter function, found in the 'Speech' menu in the control panel of the 'Windows XP' system, enables the user to convert his or her typing into the spoken word after selecting from a variety of computerised voices such as ‘Microsoft Sam' and ‘Microsoft Mary'. It is Microsoft's inclusion of "Microsoft Hawking" that has, however, both infuriated and provided the professor with the grounds of his claim.

This replication of his voice is said to have enraged the ailing physicist when a close personal friend used his personal computer to argue with Hawking in Hawking's own voice. Professor Dilbert Eggsteinsteen revealed that the professor found his antics particularly frustrating because, "the Hawking voice is the only reason people actually believe what he says. Without his sophisticated electronic monotone, he is nothing - just another scientist."

Hawking hit back at his colleague and hit out at Microsoft in a statement shortly before entering his solicitor's offices:

"My - eye - sight - means - a - lot - to - me. My - voice - means - even - more. And - they - stole - it… Bas - turds…!", he croaked mechanically.

"I - will - kill - them - all - with - my - bare - mechanical - hands. I - will - mow - them - down - with - my - Hawking - mo - bile. It - can - reach - speeds - of - up - to - 3 - kilo - metres - an - hour - you - know."

Hawking, whose state pension these days is said to be failing to meet the financial demands of his extravagant lifestyle, is demanding Bill Gates' every last penny as compensation. The illustrious scientist refuted allegations that he would use any compensation he received to fund 100 playboy playmates at his beck and call every day for the rest of his life, instead focusing on avenging the damages he has sustained at the hands of his enemies:

"They - will - pay. They - will - all - pay.", he added prophetically.

Despite the professor's chilling words, his solicitor sought to maintain a stance of moderation whilst justifying Hawking's outburst:

"Who knows what irresponsible people could be typing, perhaps at this very moment, on their desktop computers in imitation of Professor Hawking. If someone was to record my client's voice saying, "I like to lick hot fudge off Professor Eggsteinsteen" and distribute it as the genuine article, then who's to say otherwise? It's easy to see how severely undermined my client's impeccable reputation could become."

Stephen Hawking has indeed since been quoted divulging his obsession with fudge and Professor Eggsteinsteen's "black hole", his bizarre fantasies about radioactive clowns, how much he likes "poop", and his ability to complete rally courses in his "modded-up" 'Hawkingmobile' (complete with nitrous oxide and bumper stickers saying: "My other motorised chair's a Ferrari"), all of which are believed to be absolutely true because, like the rest of Professor Hawking's spectacular hypotheses, they are said in that unerring, ultra-authoritative "Hawking voice".

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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