Microsoft has been forced to apologize for a software programmers’ convention in Norway that featured scantily-clad dancing girls and obscene songs.
The company was aiming to publicize a set of updates to Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing program, but instead outraged delegates – particularly the very few women among them.
In one of those ‘what-the-hell-were-they-thinking’ moments, cavorting women sang that their penises and vaginas were neither ‘micro’ nor ‘soft’. The reference to vaginas was apparently inserted in an effort to make sure that women didn’t feel left out.
Astonishingly, it didn’t work. As developer Meg Natraj says on Twitter, “It became, ‘We don’t really THINK/care about women, but we have to put this in so that no one can complain that we excluded them’.”
In any case, she points out, ‘micro’ and ‘soft’ aren’t necessarily attributes that a woman wants to avoid.
Microsoft’s long had a reputation for sexist behavior. Last year, former UK board member Simon Negus was sacked over allegations that he’d kissed one colleague and asked another to flutter her eyelashes. The case was eventually settled.
The company’s terribly sorry for this latest debacle, too, with corporate communications boss admitting on Twitter: “This routine had vulgar language, was inappropriate and was just not ok. We apologize to our customers and partners.”