REDMOND, WA—Microsoft head Bill Gates, already considered by many to be among the most powerful men in the world, further increased his powers Monday, augmenting several of his key statistics to near-immortal levels.

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, one of the most powerful businessmen on the Prime Material Plane, recently granted himself powers normally available only to deities and demigods.

Among the most striking increases were a +2 raise in dexterity to 18, and an overwhelming charisma increase to an above-human score of 20, placing Gates in the realm of deities and demigods.

"I am pleased to announce that I have boosted my already impressive statistics," Gates said in a statement to shareholders Monday. "As we develop the technological framework that will dominate the 21st century, these augmentations--and others to follow--will be powerful wards against competition from the likes of Netscape, Oracle and Melkor who is named Morgoth."

"Microsoft is the software-industry leader today, and tomorrow it will also dominate the realm of information access, as well as the content being accessed," Gates said. "The continued growth of our Corbis Media archive, the successful development and launch of MSNBC, and my mastery of the shield spells of the Elven King Lagolin are only the beginning for Microsoft."

Gates, who raised his intelligence to 20 in 1990, is fast becoming the most powerful CEO in American media. Experts place him above Fox's Rupert Murdoch and Disney's Michael Eisner, both of whom hold over 1.2 million hit points. Gates is also rumored to be in possession of a bag of holding containing one terabyte of information, as well as over 100 billion gold and silver pieces.

Analysts see Monday's statistical boost as extremely beneficial to Gates in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

"This is a very shrewd move on Gates' part," PC Magazine columnist John C. Dvorak said. "His vastly increased charisma--the prime stat of a chaotic evil executive--will help him tremendously in his ongoing struggle to convince skeptical Microsoft stockholders that his ventures into television and his massive content-buying spree will pay off in the long run. The extra CHR will also assist him greatly in dealing with wary CEOs of companies he wishes to invest in and cast spells over, like Comcast."

"It hardly seems fair, but he will now be capable of near-invisibility in behind-the-scenes business dealings," Dvorak added, referring to the stealth augment which comes with a dexterity gain. "And at the same time, he'll wear Mordekainen's Spectacles of True Sight, which provide +6 insight gains into long-term Windows marketing strategies."

Bill Gates' revised character sheet.

While few question the wisdom behind Gates' stat increases, there remains a possibility that the Federal Trade Commission, which in 1996 ruled his licensing agreement with computer manufacturers to be in violation of anti-trust laws, will challenge the move. Even if the FTC rules against Gates, however, industry analysts believe that he should easily recover, thanks to his above-average 15 constitution.

Gates' rivals expressed frustration over his ability to achieve invulnerability in a supposedly competitive market. "Combining this augmentation with last month's purchase of the Polo Shirt of Thalkettoth, which grants a +5 saving throw against anti-trust litigation, Gates should now be seen as operating outside the law," Apple CEO Dr. Gilbert Amelio said Tuesday. "One more sorcerous potion of Gain Market Share, and we might as well declare bankruptcy."

"Anyone can be a Santa Claus DM and give out unearned stats," Oracle president Larry Ellison said. "I'm surprised he didn't just go ahead and give himself a 20 in everything."

With overpowering statistics in all six ability categories, with the exception of strength, Gates is widely considered to be primed for the Kingship.

"Certainly his campaign could be crushed if he made a mistake," ABC computer correspondent Geena Smith said. "But let's be realistic. He's got 40 million experience points dating back to when he dropped out of Harvard. His party has done nothing but kill and acquire for 22 years. He knows when to cast versus when to hack-and-slash. He will be the emperor lich of 21st century media."