In a revelation that may damage Microsoft's impeccable open source credentials, Business Week has revealed that Microsoft staff encouraged a San Francisco-area investment company to invest in the SCO Group. The SCO Group is embroiled in a lawsuit against IBM and two companies who use Linux software, claiming that they all owe SCO money.

Long-term Redmond watchers will be shocked and dismayed by the news. Previously Microsoft has been a staunch supporter of open source, praising it as a "cancer", a "virus" and a threat to the capitalist economy.

BayStar's Lawrence Goldfarb confirmed that Microsoft executives had contacted his firm two months before it made its decision to invest $50m in the SCO Group, but didn't provide any of the money.

Last week Eric Raymond published a memo which he said proved that the SCO Group was Redmond's "puppet" and that Microsoft had provided $100m in funding for SCO's anti-Linux IP collection. Rather than seeing a confluence of interests, he insists that the entire operation is funded and masterminded from Redmond. The desire to see an all-powerful and purposive designer has historically proved very useful to humans, so we musn't be too harsh.

Here at The Register we're still weighing the authenticity of documents disclosed to us which purport to show the Pope taking "Mass". Even worse, more undisclosed footage shows North American bears not using the toilet facilities provided by park rangers. But we think that's enough shocking revelations for one day.

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