REDMOND, WA—In a move designed to hasten the inevitable, billionaire Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates announced yesterday that from now on, he will be getting half.

Gates, whose savvy and aggressiveness propelled his Microsoft corporation to the top of the business world and made him America’s richest man with an estimated fortune of $18 billion, announced his plan at a press conference yesterday from his Seattle-area compound. “I get half,” he explained.

It has not yet been decided if Gates’ half will be taken straight down the middle or by liquidating all assets and dividing up raw capital. The question will be settled later this week by a special session of Gates’ half of the U.S. Congress.

“Don’t touch anything until you’re sure it’s not part of my half,” Gates instructed the world’s citizenry yesterday via the several million 40-foot-high projection screens he has scattered throughout the globe. “I don’t want anyone messing up stuff in my half.”

Until everything can be clearly divided between Gates and persons who are not Gates, measures will be taken to ensure the integrity of Gates’ half.

Citizens are instructed to remain in their homes, consuming a carefully monitored minimum of their perishables and subjecting their personal possessions to as little wear and tear as possible.

In the event something belonging to Gates is consumed or damaged, Gates announced he will take punitive action, levying fines of up to $14 billion, and may even insist that offenders themselves be included in his half.

“Don’t take from my half,” the 36-year-old Gates said. “Ice cream and cool cars are part of my half.” Gates also expressed interest in possessing Apple, IBM and the former Soviet Union.

“You know, I own the Bettman Archive,” Gates said. “You can’t look at it unless I say so.”

Gates’ half will be collected via an advanced subroutine built directly into Windows 95. Computer users without Windows 95 will have it automatically sent to them, with the cost of the program deducted from their half.

Those without computers will be directed to special Gates-owned DNA-resequencing centers where a special bio-silicate form of Windows 95 will be injected directly into their bloodstreams. Once in the bloodstream, the Windows program is designed to breed virally at the base of its host brainstem and to begin work on calculating Gates’ half.

“Everyone must contribute to my half,” Gates said. “Any number, no matter how small, can be divided into two halves, one of which will be mine.”

Gates would not comment on the possibility of eventually increasing his share from a mere half to a controlling interest.

Sources close to Gates would neither confirm nor deny rumors that Gates might offer up to 15 percent of his half in exchange for the other half of the world.

“The transitional period may be difficult,” Gates said. “But it will be quick. I hope that this time will be remembered pleasantly in the half of people’s minds that remain their own.”