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<nettime> MS tweaks national sovereignty, animated GIF at 11
nettime's_roving_reporter on Fri, 20 Aug 2004 06:42:59 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> MS tweaks national sovereignty, animated GIF at 11


     [via <tbyfield {AT} panix.com>. so many possible metacommentaries,
      so little time... -- cheers, t]

< http://news.com.com/2102-1014_3-5316664.html?tag=st.util.print >

How eight pixels cost Microsoft millions

   By Jo Best
   Special to CNET News.com
   http://news.com.com/2100-1014-5316664.html
   Story last modified August 19, 2004, 11:36 AM PDT


   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 eight wrongly colored
   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 coloring in 800,000 pixels on a map of India, Microsoft colored
   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 U.S. 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   That game was also withdrawn.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 [7]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.


   Silicon.com's Jo Best reported from London.

   Copyright (c)1995-2004 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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