RealTime IT News

Tennis Anyone?

In a partnership of two titans of their respective fields, software behemoth Microsoft Corp. has teamed up with music icon (and real-life knight) Sir Elton John for a charity event to raise money to fight AIDS and HIV.

The centerpiece of the contest will be a stock-picking contest, the MSN Money Celebrity Challenge, in which participants create a virtual portfolio of four stocks. The portfolios will compete against those chosen by other participants - and Sir Elton himself. Microsoft will donate 50 cents per participant, up to $250,000, to the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which funds HIV- and AIDS-prevention programs around the world.

"I'm excited to be the featured contestant in the MSN Market Challenge and look forward to testing my stock-picking skills," John said in a statement.

The contest begins today and runs through May 14. The winner will have the portfolio that increases the most in value between May 15 and May 29.

Sir Elton did not disclose which companies' shares he's bullish on, or whether MSFT will find a place in his virtual portfolio.

The winning contestant will receive an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the 10th Annual All-Star Smash Hits charity tennis tournament. The exhibition, which will be held in Philadelphia this December, is co-hosted by former tennis star Billie Jean King, who will battle John in a set to kick off the evening. Last year's tournament also featured Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, and raised over $500,000.

Since it was founded in 1992, the Elton John AIDS Foundation has distributed more than $30 million in grants. AIDS prevention and research has been a particular focus of Microsoft founder Bill Gates' philanthropic efforts. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has dedicated $450 million to fighting HIV and AIDS .