Iowa Farm Girl, Last Holdout; Gives in After Talk with Preacher

WATERLOO, IOWA ( – Sixteen-year-old high school sophomore Becky Atherton, believed to be the last remaining American who did not hate Microsoft, announced today that she was “tired of being different” and would now hate Microsoft just like everyone else.

“Okay, I hate ’em too, I guess,” Atherton told a cheering crowd at a press conference in the gymnasium at Oak Bluff High School. “I mean, like, God, I’m just so tired of being the only one who doesn’t.”

Becky Atheron, believed to be the only person in America who didn't hate Microsoft

Secret Service agents then whisked her away to take a congratulatory phone call from the President. She spoke to Larry Ellison for nearly 10 minutes before returning to the press conference.

Atherton said she has been under relentless pressure from parents, teachers, classmates, and the media to be a “good citizen” and hate Microsoft. However, she said, “I just couldn’t. I mean, I didn’t know anything about them or antitrust or anti-whatever. Why would I hate them?” In addition, she said, since becoming the last holdout – a Detroit auto mechanic and his six-month-old son declared their hatred two weeks ago – Microsoft has plied her with new computers, and promised to name its next operating system “Becky.”

But then Atherton, who described herself as deeply religious, said she was visited by her minister. “He explained that you can hate something without knowing a lot about it, and that sometimes you just have to take it on faith,” she recalled.

“We are just so proud of our little Becky,” said her mother, Marian Atherton, who has hated Microsoft since reading a newspaper article about the company 1998. “We were so worried about her being the last one – you know how teenagers are; they just want to be so darn different. But we prayed on it, and our prayers were answered.”

Mrs. Atherton said she intends to thank Billy Graham personally when the family heads to Dulles, Va., where AOL will hold a ticker-tape parade in Becky’s honor.

A Microsoft spokesman said the company was “saddened” by Atherton’s decision, and insisted Microsoft hating was “just a fad.” He said the company will now focus its attention on Renee Lemaire, believed to be the only Canadian who has yet to hate the company.

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