Hey, El Reg - Microsoft is *not* becoming an ASF member!
Contrary to what The Register reports, Microsoft is not paying $100,000 annual membership to the Apache Software Foundation.
ASF membership cannot be bought: people earn their individual membership by merit, and there's no such thing as ASF member companies.
As with any other sponsor of the ASF, Microsoft's sponsorship only means that they're giving money to the ASF, money that the ASF can use freely, as the ASF does not accept directed donations.
I am very pleased to see this happening. It won't make me love Microsoft's current products much more (although, as my son notes, the XBox is a nifty piece of kit), but it is great to see more and more people inside Microsoft understand the importance of open source in today's IT landscape.
Update: as I write this, the Google Number for +apache +microsoft +sponsor* is 682,000
Update: it's been at least 24 hours since I posted a comment to the Register article linked above, indicating their error. Surprisingly, that comment hasn't been moderated in yet...