Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Microsoft Apologizes for Naughty Dance Routine

Somewhere, there’s a handful of Microsoft marketing contractors getting fired. That’s an easy conclusion to make from the PR blunder stemming from a Microsoft developers event in Norway that included some dancing girls — and some embarrassing lyrics accompanying their routine.

As reported by GeekWire, the dance routine took place at an event in Norway that was intended to promote some new advances in Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing platform, advancements meant to deliver a “hybrid cloud” combining the best of both on-premise and off-premise functionality.

Someone apparently couldn’t just stick to the subject. Ahead of Microsoft’s presentation at the Norwegian Developers Conference in Oslo, was this cheesecake-y dance routine — which, by itself, might have been obnoxious but near some marginally acceptable, if off-topic, borderline. But then came the lyrics, played during the routine and flashed on video screens: “The words MICRO and SOFT don’t apply to my penis.”

Frank Shaw, head of corporate communications for Microsoft, tweeted today that the routine — some of which you can see in the video below — was “inappropriate and just not okay.”


This routine had vulgar language, was inappropriate and was just not ok. We apologize to our customers and partners. http://t.co/ELlZCM5Z
@fxshaw
Frank X. Shaw

Some people in attendance were not amused and, naturally, turned to Twitter.


For those not here, we had flashing disco lights, bad lyrics about penis, disco beats and dancing azure girls, so cringeworthy #ndcoslo
@RobAshton
‘Hurricane Rob’


As a former #NDCOslo organizer I must say I don’t stand behind that azure dance act. What were they thinking? It’s not ironic, it’s just bad
@anoras
Anders Norås


Wow #microsoft this music thing is probably the most embarrasing i’ve ever seen and heard. #ndcoslo
@hamnis
Erlend Hamnaberg


The dancing girls, hokey song, and marketing speak of MS’s Azure announcement at #ndcoslo shows how much they misunderstand their audience.
@unclebobmartin
Uncle Bob Martin


So this is what Microsoft thought was appropriate for a developer conference in Oslo: http://t.co/Q3WRzpY6Still clueless.#ndcoslo
@aral
Aral Balkan

Microsoft had already sought to apologize for the routine. It posted comments on YouTube videos of the routine, saying:

“This week’s Norwegian Developer’s Conference included a skit that involved inappropriate and offensive elements and vulgar language. We apologize to our customers and our partners and are actively looking into the matter.”

Every so often, satellite marketing offices wander off the reservation from how the home office does things. I’ve got a message in to Shaw, trying to find out what happened. Until then, here’s a sample of what all the fuss is about:


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik