Microsoft's applied for a patent on facilitating meetings via hologram. Yes, this is ridiculous. But perhaps salable!

It's really a laughable patent. Most offices can't even reliably use the mature technology behind video conferences. So holograms, exponentially more complicated, should be yet another idea people won't be able to get working.

And, besides, the challenge is in the execution, not the conception. Patenting a holographic meeting is like patenting a flying car. Particularly when you skimp on the details:

The patent is rather vague on the actual hardware and software that would create these holographic meetings, although it does include 21 pictures and diagrams of how these meetings would take place.

Chalk this up as yet another indelible mark Bill Gates has left on his company. According to the Microsoft founder, we should all be enjoying computerized light fixtures and internet-connected ovens in our smart homes, where we carry around the tablet computers that have swept the market, and where we'll play with touch-sensitive tables made out of LCDs (if we can figure out how to set them up).

Luckily, Microsoft has a lucrative initial market ready to go this time around: cash-drenched cable-news networks, who are eager for ratings. Like CNN. As we all learned at election time, they love holograms.