Hey, remember when that Microsoft recruiter sent a wildly inappropriate email to interns and ended up having to apologize for it because it was blatantly offensive and out of touch? Yeah, that was just the tip of the Titanic-sized iceberg.
These guys are messing up all over the place, and honestly, I hope they don’t stop because it’s wildly entertaining to see a major corporation stumble over itself like this. Computerworld, a site that’s named like it’s a joke on Silicon Valley, has compiled the most recent scenarios of Microsoft embodying the Steve Buscemi, “How do you do, fellow kids?” meme. Let’s begin with the first.
In late March, Microsoft held its annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Getting millennial developers to write for your platform is seen as an important key to a platform’s success. So Microsoft did what it thought would bring them flocking: It hosted a party in which young women, dressed like half-naked, underage schoolgirls, danced suggestively to entertain the crowd.
Hey, you know how that worked out for them? Pretty much everyone had to apologize and go with the canned response of the party “not reflecting the core values and beliefs” of the company, which is honestly too bad because that sounds like a party that Leo would’ve thrown in The Wolf of Wall Street. Everyone knows that when you’re trying to lure nerdy developers, you toss schoolgirl outfits on a bunch of dancers that appear to be underage. Sure, it’s a dirty tactic, but that is your best bet. Savvy move? Yes. Right move? No.
Let’s move on.
A week later, another mission looking for millennials went awry. Microsoft created a chatbot called Tay and aimed at 18-to-24-year-olds for “entertainment purposes,” in the company’s words. Microsoft was looking to show off its artificial intelligence chops, as well as to attract the millennial audience — for example, by touting Tay as its “AI fam from the internet that’s got zero chill.”
On the surface, yes, this is a good idea. But once you start trying to cater to a demographic that you’re this out of touch with, things are going to go wrong. Especially if your bot has zero chill, fam.
Unfortunately, the bot learned too much from Twitter and went rogue by saying a bunch of “racist, misogynistic, and homophobic” things. You know, like how Bush did 9/11 and that “Hitler would’ve done a better job than the monkey we have now.” See what happens when you allow a bot to source it’s brain from the scummiest place on the internet, Twitter? You’re going to lose that battle ten times out of ten.
And finally, the aforementioned recruiter incident.
In early July, Patrick Burtchaell, a Loyola University New Orleans student, posted on Twitter an email from a Microsoft recruiter to his roommate. The email had the subject line “HEY BAE INTERN <3.” It invited the student’s roommate to a recruitment event, and went on to say, “We're throwing an exclusive after party the night of the event at our San Francisco office and you're invited. There will be hella noms, lots of dranks, the best beats and just like last year, we're breaking out the Yammer beer pong table. HELL YES TO GETTING LIT ON A MONDAY NIGHT”
If you need that take, just defer to my previous thoughts and remember why you have an iPhone instead of a Windows-based phone. They’re about one bad decision away from hiring Jared from Subway to make a “Dude, you’re getting a Microsoft!” radio commercial. .