The origins of April Fool’s day are obscure. Some say it was the move from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in the sixteenth century, when the beginning of the year changed from 1 April to 1 January — those who were slow to cotton on became the butt of coarse humour.
We are no fans of coarse humour. Neither do we intend to perpetrate a carefully contrived fake — not because we disapprove, but because there is simply no need. With the IT industry prone to periodic fits of ridiculousness, nothing we could come up with would look at all out of place.
Let us demonstrate. One of the five stories below is fake; four are as we reported them this year. Can you tell the difference?
1. When found guilty by the European Union of using its monopoly position to restrict the abilities of other companies to compete, Microsoft responded by proposing an expensive licence that prevented open source products from interacting with its servers. The EU complained. About the price.
2. Faced with lack of industry enthusiasm for the Itanium processor and the success of the Pentium M, Intel announced it is planning an Itanium M — a mobile version. Although it still needs over 70W and thus won't be any use in laptops until fuel cell technology improves, Intel says it will be useful in 'field servers' powering rapid deployment grid and mesh networks.
3. Ofcom ruled that BT was failing to offer its rivals full and fair access to its national network, and demanded radical change. The incumbent telco is now pushing ahead with a multi-billion pound upgrade to embed the network even more firmly in the national infrastructure. Competitive access? Good question.
4. Last November, EDS managed to knock out 80,000 government PCs at the Department of Work and Pensions by mishandling a 'routine software update' of Windows. As a result, EDS has recently been awarded the contract to upgrade the Ministry of Defence's IT systems
5. Following intense and mostly unanswerable criticism of its attempts to push through an incomprehensible directive concerning software patents, the European Commission decides to respond to the situation by getting the directive put on the 'must-pass' list of the Fisheries committee.
(You'll find the answer, if you really need to, on page 2).
In case you haven't spotted it, the fake story was the only one that didn't involve any action by a public or governmental body. We're in charge of them. More fool us.