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Microsoft Giving Away \$245 – Email Hoax
By on October 10th, 2011

A fake email that was sent earlier in the year 1999 is still being circulated, and that is quite surprising to know. This fake email that I received today indicated that Microsoft in collaboration with AOL is making an effort to make sure that Internet Explorer remains the most widely used web browser. For this, Bill Gates is rewarding cash prize for every user who forwards the email to their friends.

Here’s what it states -

Dear Friends,

Please do not take this for a junk letter. Bill Gates is sharing his fortune. If you ignore this you will repent later. Microsoft and AOL are now the largest Internet companies and in an effort to make sure that Internet Explorer remains the most widely used program, Microsoft and AOL are running an e-mail beta test.

When you forward this e-mail to friends, Microsoft can and will track it (if you are a Microsoft Windows user) for a two week time period. For every person that you forward this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay you \$245.00, for every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you \$243.00 and for every third person that receives it, you will be paid \$241.00.

Within two weeks, Microsoft will contact you for your address and then send you a cheque.

I was literally laughing out loud when I read this email. It’s funny to know that people believe in such stupid emails and forward them to their friends.

Consider this assumption- If you happen to send this email to 100 recipients, then according to the message you would be rewarded \$24,500. Now each of your friends forwards it to another 50 friends. That is, 50 * 100 = 5000 additional friends.

Therefore, 5000 * \$243 = \$1.215 million. These 5000 (other) friends forward it to their friends i.e., third person. So, 5000 * 50 = 250,000 third set of friends. Therefore, 250,000 * \$241 = \$60.25 million.

The total: \$24,500 + \$1.215 million + \$60.25 million  = 61.4895 million USD

Microsoft hasn’t lost its mind to give away \$61 million to someone for just forwarding a stupid email! One must have been really jobless while creating this email, and people were even more jobless while forwarding it.

It is known that this email has been circulating in one form or another since 1999. The names of the companies and reward involved, has periodically changed. Microsoft and AOL aren’t running a tracked “email beta test”, and aren’t paying anyone. In May 12, 1999, Microsoft posted a message on their website stating that the following email is a hoax and did not originate from Microsoft.

This is what Bill Gates had to say:

Even more annoying than spam, in some respects, are hoaxes. I’m acutely aware of this because my name was recently attached to a hoax email message that was widely distributed.

People embellished the fraudulent email over time, as it was forwarded from electronic mailbox to electronic mailbox, but an early version read this way:

“My name is Bill Gates. I have just written up an e-mail tracing program that traces everyone to whom this message is forwarded to. I am experimenting with this and I need your help. Forward this to everyone you know and if it reaches 1000 people everyone on the list will receive \$1000 at my expense. Enjoy. Your friend, Bill Gates.”

The bogus message was widely forwarded, which surely led to some disappointment from people who hoped to receive \$1,000 for passing along what was essentially a chain letter.