Microsoft is trying to patent automatic goodbye messages, including "Have a great afternoon!" and "Ciao, Harry!"
Last week, the Redmond software giant tossed an application at the US Patent Office that demands the exclusive rights to a tool that lets you "automatically send a goodbye message when ending a conversation" over IM and VoIP services.
When you close your IM client, for instance, the tool could instantly send mini-missives to all your buddies. And you'd have free rein to customize these messages.
"As an example, the facility may select a goodbye message based on the identity of the converser," the patent reads, in standard patent-speak. "As another example, the facility may select a goodbye message randomly. As another example, the facility may select a goodbye message based on other aspects of the conversation, such as time of day, length of conversation, mood indicated by the user, and so forth."
The patent even describes what the missives might look like. "Examples of such goodbye messages are: 'Have a great afternoon!', 'Sorry, I have got to go!', 'Have a terrific day!' and 'Ciao, Harry!'".
You could argue that IRC clients have offered this sort of thing for years, but that hasn't stopped Microsoft. With their new patent application, Ballmer and company hope to eliminate rudeness across the net.
"Ending a conversation without first sending an appropriate communication or other content can sometimes be misunderstood by a converser with whom a conversation is ended," the application continues. "As an example, a converser may be insulted when the user terminates a conversation without saying goodbye or may consider it to be rude to end a conversation abruptly without a communication that the conversation is ending."
Meanwhile, Microsoft is one of the leading voices calling for reforms to the US patent system. ®