This is kind of weird:

Microsoft, amid an IP spree that has won the company patent protection for everything from XML dialects to video game storage methods, received a patent on Tuesday for a new variety of apple tree.

U.S. Plant Patent 14,757, granted to Robert Burchinal of East Wenatchee, Wash., and assigned to Microsoft, covers a new type of tree discovered in the early 1990s in the Wenatchee area, a major commercial apple-growing region. Dubbed the “Burchinal Red Delicious,” the tree is notable for producing fruit that achieves a deep red color significantly earlier than other varieties. It is sold commercially as the “Adams Apple.” (CNET

It’s unclear; has Microsoft decided that it’s not enough for it to compete with every other company in the computer industry, and decided to move on to agriculture, or did the US Patent Office screw up? My money’s on a patent office screwup.