Rebecca Kamm

Poking a stick at ladies' issues, pop culture, and other cutting-edge curiosities.

Rebecca Kamm: Microsoft apologises for 'penis dance'

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There's something 'perversely entertaining' about a geek getting his groove on, says Rebecca Kamm.
There's something 'perversely entertaining' about a geek getting his groove on, says Rebecca Kamm.

We all love a nerd who tries to get his groove on.

There's just something so perversely entertaining about it - maybe because it makes the rest of us feel so excellent in comparison.

It's no wonder, then, that everyone is so delighted by Microsoft's latest PR disaster, which involves a magnificent blend of computer nerds, awful techno, nude ladies and the word "penis".

At a Developers' Conference in Oslo last week, the corporation made a valiant effort to link cool things like sex and drugs to their cloud-computing platform, Azure.

This was attempted via a bizarre dance routine, which involved half-nude Norwegian women and lyrics that were displayed on a large screen on stage, in case you missed a beat.

All in all, the best lyric was probably, "The words MICRO and SOFT don't apply to my penis (or vagina)."

A cursory "(or vagina)" was included only at the last minute (and only on-screen), when keynote speaker Aral Balkan questioned the routine's sexism prior to its performance.

There were also references to programmers coding as "fast" and "hard", and - BTW - "CSS is my LSD, and XML is my ecstasy". Which is fortunate, because, "Tonight we're gonna party and coding is our drug".

It really is the BEST/WORST corporate dance routine ever. Have a look:

Unsurprisingly, delegates and industry insiders were unimpressed, and Microsoft has hung its head in shame ever since.

The whole thing was particularly dur-brained because the company has already been in trouble for its sexist ways, and criticised heavily for its alleged culture of loutish and lewd behaviour.

The company's head of corporate communications, Frank Shaw, has tweeted:

"The routine had vulgar language, was inappropriate and was just not ok. We apologize to our customers and partners."

And Microsoft stated:

"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."

As actor Alyson Hannigan once said, "Nerds are far more interesting humans in later life." In which case: Microsoft, you got some growing up to do.

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