The Microsoft Norwegian Developers Conference this year (NDC 2012) has made headlines for Microsoft. Unfortunately the headlines were not all about the spring updates to Windows Azure but for a bizarre song.
Geekwire picked up the story on Saturday pointing to videos on YouTube, uploaded by attendees of NDC 2012.
The song starts innocuously enough with the lines "We are here to talk software, we are here to talk bugs", but continues with "Tonight we're gonna party and coding is our drugs"
It then continues "I got the skills to impress, I'm a computer genius. The words "Micro" and "Soft" don't apply to my penis". The closed caption screens at this point also show the words "(or vagina)".
Perhaps the typists working the closed captions included the "(or vagina)" as an attempt at inclusiveness. Unfortunately it conjures up a worrying alternative .
Then the song continues "CSS is my LSD and XML is my XTC". In the YouTube video the audience can be heard laughing at the song.
Windows Azure posted a comment on one of the videos and apologised:
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.
Frank X Shaw, Lead corporate communications for Microsoft apologised for the dance routine at the Norwegian Developers conference. He tweeted:
"This routine had vulgar language, was inappropriate and was just not ok. We apologize to our customers and partners".
Most of the comments on youTube indicated that people were amused by the faux pas -- there are fewer comments actually criticising the video. CJhatesu observed:
"I don't know if I'd refer to XML as ecstasy, but at least they explain why CSS looks so jacked up on IE".
Should Microsoft have apologised? Of course. It is the right thing to do PR-wise. The Windows Azure team did exactly the right thing apologising on the social channel that contained the comments. Was this song a surprise to the local team? Of course not.
These types of events are rehearsed and stage managed down to the minute. The script, presentation, timings, demos and songs are Okayed by the Microsoft events team in conjunction with the local Microsoft office. If this song was the party launch song, it would have been rehearsed in full earlier that day on site.
Events such as NDC, PDC, Teched, Mix and MMS need to generate buzz in order to raise awareness of the event and encourage registrations for the next event. Any buzz generated by the community brings more visibility to the conference.
The song itself, irritatingly catchy in a Euro-pop sort of way, is nothing more raunchy than other songs we have here in Europe. The language is much better than some rap songs. There is no swearing or abuse in the song -- just anatomically correct words.
The NDC has certainly generated the required buzz about the event this year. Developers not using drugs, but preferring to code can only be a good thing.
Hopefully these developers could bear to tear themselves away from their coding to enjoy the party -- despite the quality of the song.