June 11, 2012
Windows Developer Apologizes For Controversial NDC Presentation
An attempt at a humorous, lighthearted presentation at a developer's conference last week wound up becoming an embarrassing gaffe for one of the largest technology companies in the world, after Microsoft was forced to issue an apology in the wake of the controversial event.
The incident occurred during the Norwegian Developers Conference (NDC), which took place from June 6 through June 8 in Oslo, involved a song-and-dance presentation featuring their Windows Azure cloud computing platform, according to Wired's Robert McMillan and PCMag's David Murphy.
The presentation was actually put together by "a Scandanavian Microsoft contractor," McMillan said.
"The routine is the kind of thing you see all too often at these technology parties: Loud music with a disembodied voice rapping goofy lyrics while a half-dozen women in shorts dance in front of a roomful of bemused Norwegian software geeks, who have each paid about $1,500 to attend the three-day event," he added.
Murphy dubbed it "a fairly silly and (typically) lame routine that looks like the cross between LMFAO and Dance Moms," noting that everything was fine until the song's lyrics reached the second verse, which said, "I've got the skills to impress, I'm a computer genius. The words 'Micro' and 'Soft' don't apply to my penis."
"To Microsoft's credit, the presentation tries to promote gender inclusivity by throwing the phrase '(or vagina)' underneath the aforementioned lyrics when they pop up on a big TV monitor in front of the dance show," the PCMag writer noted. "That's really the only saving grace that can come from this one."
A video of the performance was posted to YouTube, where it has received criticism from several members of the video sharing community. The backlash over the "bizarre and borderline offensive dance routine" has compelled Microsoft to enter "damage control" mode, Mark Raby of Slashgear said on Sunday.
"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," the company said in a pair of messages posted to the official Windows Azure YouTube channel.
Likewise, in a Twitter post, Microsoft head of corporate communications Frank Shaw said, "This routine had vulgar language, was inappropriate and was just not ok. We apologize to our customers and partners."