"I don't know where these rumors come from," commented Steve Balmer, Microsoft Executive Vice President for Worldwide Sales and Support. "It's ridiculous to think Microsoft would force people outside the computer industry to change their names. We won't, and our licensing policies for people within the industry will be so reasonable that the Justice Department could never question them."
Balmer said employees of other computer companies will be given the opportunity to select new names, and will also be offered a licensing option allowing them to continue using their former names at very low cost.
The new licensing program, called Microsoft TrueName(tm), offers persons who want to continue being known by the name Bob the option of doing so, with the payment of a small monthly licensing fee and upon signing a release form promising never to use OpenDoc. As an added bonus, Bob name licensees will also be authorized to display the Windows 95 logo on their bodies.
Persons choosing not to license the Bob name will be given a 60-day grace period during which they can select another related name. "We're being very lenient in our enforcement of the Bob trademark," said Bill Newkom, Microsoft's Senior Vice President of Law and Corporate Affairs. "People are still free to call themselves Robert, Robby, or even Rob. Bobby however is derivative of Microsoft's trademark and obviously can't be allowed."
Microsoft also announced today that Bob(tm) Harbold, its Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, has become the first Microsoft TrueName licensee and will have the Windows 95 logo tattooed to his forehead.