26 October 2002

I May Faint

I may be merciless in my lambasting of Microsoft's corporate irresponsibility, but let nobody accuse me of not being balanced. The monopoly actually went and did exactly the right thing for quite possibly the first time ever today. They admitted that it was a stupid idea to plaster the city of New York will illegal butterfly stickers (see story directly below), are working with city officials to clean up the decals immediately, and offered restitution to cover the cost.

As a result, the city issued the company a single $50 summons rather than one for each sticker, which could have totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

But lest you think this is a story of Microsoft waking up one morning and discovering that it's actually possible for them to be good corporate citizens, allow me to point out that the company's first reaction was to publicly lie to the media before they finally faced the music. Their spokesperson first claimed that MS had gotten proper permits to do this beforehand, even though it was quite obvious that the city had issued no such permits (indeed, their reaction could be summarised as "pig-biting mad"), and the ad agency that did the plastering admitted they had never seen any permits.

You see what happens when you own up and play fair, MS? It's not so bad, is it? Maybe you could apply this lesson to some of the other aspects of your company ...

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