In what can only be described as a bizarre and totally off the wall scheme, the colossal Microsoft empire is to transplant itself down under. In yet another world exclusive, Tabloid has obtained the truth behind the Microsoft monopoly.

Our source cannot be named but will be referred to as 'Deep Pocket'. He has revealed that in anticipation of Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's Microsoft monopoly ruling, the computer giant has, for at least the last 12 months, been preparing to move its corporate headquarters to Australia. Deep Pocket also revealed that Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is applying for Australian citizenship under the special guidelines applying to cultural and business refugee status.

According to Pocket, Gates conducted high-level discussions with senior Australian Government officials during a visit last year, and has been given the green-and-gold light to proceed with the mammoth shift.

'The US Government took former skippy Rupert Murdoch,' Gates is reported to have told Pocket, 'now it's payback time for the Australian Government.'

And according to another one of Pocket's associates, several key US-based Microsoft executives have been spotted inspecting residential real estate in some of Sydney's prime leafy North Shore suburbs. Executives of the local subsidiary are reported to be divided in their reactions to the news of the impending upgrade to the North Ryde office. While some are anticipating meteoric promotions, others are wondering whether an Australian subsidiary can simultaneously exist with the new global HQ. But according to our informant, the overwhelming reaction to the unconfirmed but strongly anticipated plan is elation.

'The Australian Government doesn't really care about monopolies. Why should it? They've served the country well - look at how many Australians were employed by Telstra. And in the media it makes it so much easier when we want something publicised. Luring some overbearing software company here to carry on as it pleases is a no-brainer . . . this time we can always say that it was like that before it got here . . . it's not our fault, we're just doing it for the money,' the source claimed.

Rivals of the ubiquitous big M are understood to be furious with the Australian Government for even entertaining the idea of hosting the new corporate citizen. Furious that they didn't think of it themselves, it would seem.

In what is a huge irony, the country famed for its egalitarianism and fair-go principles looks set to save the software monolith from being broken up and forced to share the playground.

'You can't force someone, even corporations, to share anything,' Gates is reported to have told Pocket, 'and if the US Government insists on this witch-hunt, then stone the flamin' crows and call me an Aussie.'

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