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A hoax perpetrated by senior Microsoft technical staff has backfired, after Microsoft Watch's Mary Jo Foley rumbled the prank.

Staff led by middleware guru Don Box "invented" a new business process language called BML that was part of a project called Boa.

Microsoft has unleashed over 1,400 bloggers, hoping that their emergent hive mind will speed the next version of Windows, Longhorn, to release. Sun Microsystems lags slightly behind in this arms race, with far fewer staff on hand to generate the Real Time Noise that's an essential part of bringing software to market in a timely fashion [are you sure about this? - ed]. The tittering Microsoft bloggers spread the word about Boa, BML and "Indigo Marks".

However very little gets past Mary Jo, who notes today that there is no such project. BML is as real as the LOAF protocol.

Indeed it's the developers who may have some explaining to do. With Longhorn three years late already, and expected by some analysts to miss its 2006 ship date, Microsoft must explain how it can afford to deploy so many clever and capable people for Sixth Form pranks.

Can't they at least pretend to look busy? ®

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