Microsoft has managed to do even more damage to its already-staid image by causing its very own racism row.
The software company, which has already suffered at the hands of competitor Apple, whose ‘I’m an Apple’ ad campaign poked fun at Microsoft’s dull, corporate image, has been accused of racism after a black man was replaced by a white man in a photograph on the polish version of its website.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, not only did bloggers notice the move almost immediately, but whoever made the alteration also forgot to change the colour of the hand – leaving the white man, whose neck is already sitting at a very odd angle, looking as though he has been subject to an unfortunate incident in a tanning salon.
Bloggers have been engaged in speculation over the reasons for the move. While some have blamed Poland’s ‘ethnic homogeneity’, others have chosen to see it as something altogether more cerebral: “The white head and black hand actually symbolise interracial harmony,” one blogger has been quoted as saying. “It is supposed to show that a person can be white and black, old and young at the same time."
Microsoft, for its part, has apologised profusely over the episode, promising to investigate who is responsible for what’s happened – but it doesn’t really make any difference. Not only has the company now alienated a huge percentage of its customer base, but it’s taken a dramatic PR hit too – scoring the sort of own goal even the likes of Apple couldn't have hoped for.