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How Eight Pixels Cost Microsoft Millions

The code of tribal wisdom says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
In law firms, we often try other strategies with dead horses, including the following:

bulletbuying a stronger whip
bulletchanging riders
bulletsaying things like "this is the way we have always ridden this horse"
bulletappointing a committee to study the horse
bulletarranging to visit other firms to see how they ride dead horses
bulletincreasing the standards to ride dead horses
bulletdeclaring that the horse is better, faster, and cheaper dead and finally
bulletharnessing several dead horses together for increased speed.

- Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, 16 February 1999, in the courtroom after lunch on the second day of testimony from Microsoft's Brad Chase

Success is a lousy teacher.  It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose.

- Bill Gates

by Jo Best

Microsoft's lack of multicultural savvy cost the Redmond behemoth millions of dollars, according to a company executive.  The software giant has seen its products banned in some of the biggest markets on earth - and it's all because of 8 wrongly coloured pixels, a dodgy choice of music and a bad English-to-Spanish dictionary...

Speaking at the International Geographical Union congress in Glasgow on Wednesday, Microsoft's top man in its geopolitical strategy team, Tom Edwards, revealed how one of the biggest companies in the world managed to offend one of the biggest countries in the world with a software slip-up.  When colouring in 800,000 pixels on a map of India, Microsoft coloured eight of them a different shade of green to represent the disputed Kashmiri territory.  The difference in greens meant Kashmir was shown as non-Indian, and the product was promptly banned in India.  Microsoft was left to recall all 200,000 copies of the offending Windows 95 operating system software to try and heal the diplomatic wounds.  "It cost millions," Edwards said.

Another social blunder from Microsoft saw chanting of the Koran used as a soundtrack for a computer game and led to great offence to the Saudi Arabia government.  The company later issued a new version of the game without the chanting, while keeping the previous editions in circulation because US staff thought the slip wouldn't be spotted, but the Saudi government banned the game and demanded an apology.  Microsoft then withdrew the game.

The software giant managed to further offend the Saudis by creating another game in which Muslim warriors turned churches into mosques.  That game was also withdrawn.

Microsoft has also managed to upset women and entire countries.  A Spanish-language version of Windows XP, destined for Latin American markets, asked users to select their gender between "not specified," "male" or "bitch," because of an unfortunate error in translation.

Microsoft has also seen its unfortunate style of diplomacy have an effect in Korea, Kurdistan, Uruguay and to China - where a cartographical dispute saw Chinese employees hauled in front of the government.  Edwards said that staff members are now sent on geography courses to try to avoid such mishaps.  "Some of our employees, however bright they may be, have only a hazy idea about the rest of the world," he said.'s Jo Best reported from London.

Source: or 19 August 2004

I See...

You know what they call Windows 95, don'tcha?

It's a 32-bit patch for a 16-bit GUI shell running on top of an 8-bit operating system written for a 4-bit processor by a 2-bit company that can't stand 1-bit of competition!


Source: Dr Dobb's Journal

Would You Have Invested?

Would you have invested your money in this company?

Source: The web

Weird Microsoft Word Function

(Actually, this is not a joke.)

Open a new Word document and type (or copy and paste) the following:

= rand(200,99)

Press Enter and wait 3 seconds... make sure you enter the "=".


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