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Microsoft's greatest controversies and biggest foul-ups

A run down of some of the most controversial decisions or actions by Microsoft, including some of their biggest mistakes to date.
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1 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Microsoft became embroiled in a row over ethnic diversity, after one of its posters featuring an African-American man was Photoshopped to a Caucasian man for the Polish audience

This caused great embarrassment for Microsoft, though the effects were short lived. Microsoft apologised for the "mistake" but declined to comment further. 

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For more on company controversies, check out Zack Whittaker's iGeneration column or for more on Google, visit the ZDNet All About Microsoft column.

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2 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

When Google came out and said that Microsoft's search engine Bing was copying its results, many were not surprised. Only when side-by-side comparisons were made did it become clear that Google may have been right.

Microsoft said that it had not copied results, but Google had already set up the 'Bing sting' which was designed to prove that Microsoft had done so. It turned out that indeed Bing had been copying search results by "watching" what people search for on Google -- the search giant said.

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For more on company controversies, check out Zack Whittaker's iGeneration column or for more on Google, visit the ZDNet All About Microsoft column.

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3 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Shortly after the iPhone was discovered to have collected location-based data in an unencrypted format, stored locally on the device for anybody to access, Microsoft had been implicated in the 'Locationgate' scandal too.

Microsoft all but immediately responded, in a bit to quash the similar offensive made towards Apple within days of Microsoft's announcement. Though Microsoft published a lengthy 9-page document explaining how it used data and protected data, it still added to the negative public response towards major technology corporations collecting and storing location based data on their products.

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For more on company controversies, check out Zack Whittaker's iGeneration column or for more on Google, visit the ZDNet All About Microsoft column.

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4 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Internet Explorer, as once bundled with Windows, became the star of its own anti-trust investigation. Later on down the years, the European Commission said that European users of Windows should be given the option of its own browser, rather than the pre-installed one in Windows.

Internet Explorer's browser marketshare has been slipping slowly in the past few years -- and was helped along by the 'EU ballot screen' offered by European users of Windows in a hotfix in 2010. Firefox eventually overtook Internet Explorer just after New Years 2011.

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For more on company controversies, check out Zack Whittaker's iGeneration column or for more on Google, visit the ZDNet All About Microsoft column.

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5 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Kin, the phone that never was, advertised in a way which apparently showed teenagers exchanging explicit photos of themselves and 'promoting' sexting -- a social craze amongst teenagers where they share sexually provocative text and picture messages amongst one another.

This caused instant outrage, and landed Microsoft in hot water. Consumer Reports was particularly focused with their statement, by claiming the Kin advertisements "comes uncomfortably close to advocating sexting".

The advert was pulled shortly after the news hit the web.

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For more on company controversies, check out Zack Whittaker's iGeneration column or for more on Google, visit the ZDNet All About Microsoft column.

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6 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Many have been greatly annoyed at the lack of compatibility across the different versions of Windows. With newer editions of the operating system, older applications break or simply do not run at all on later versions of Windows at all.

This continues to be a problem Microsoft is trying to solve. With Windows 7 came 'Windows XP Mode' to allow applications to run as if they were running on Windows XP without having to 'Bootcamp' in and out of different operating systems. Windows 8 is expected to have a 'Windows 7 Mode' which may indicate further broken backwards compatibility.

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For more on company controversies, check out Zack Whittaker's iGeneration column or for more on Google, visit the ZDNet All About Microsoft column.

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7 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Windows Vista, compared to its stable predecessor and successor, Windows XP and Windows 7 respectively, caused a series of issues and bugs which drove many close to the edge. In one case, a patch which was not installed all but collapsed an entire university network in England.

I had better not say another word, considering the word 'Vista' still counjours up so much anger across the ZDNet community...

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For more on company controversies, check out Zack Whittaker's iGeneration column or for more on Google, visit the ZDNet All About Microsoft column.

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8 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Nokia, run by Stephen Elop, a former Microsoft employee, is now working with Microsoft. As if many didn't see that one coming. While Nokia holds the highest share in phone sales, Microsoft is trying to head in on Symbian's territory with its own mobile operating system.

However, it has not gone along without controversy or criticism. Investors were not necessarily happy, along with stakeholders -- the BBC reported.

Many have criticised the move, however, with some claiming that the Microsoft and Nokia deal breaks antitrust laws.

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For more on company controversies, check out Zack Whittaker's iGeneration column or for more on Google, visit the ZDNet All About Microsoft column.

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9 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

Windows has long been criticised for its platform and insecurities. Though Apple software has had more vulnerabilities than Windows, because it is used on a wider scale than Mac (taking up a vast majority of the marketshare), it is more open to attack. 

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For more on company controversies, check out Zack Whittaker's iGeneration column or for more on Google, visit the ZDNet All About Microsoft column.

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10 of 10 Zack Whittaker/ZDNet

One user of Xbox Live, Richard Gaywood, was surprised when his gamertag name was banned. It turned out it was because it had the word "gay" in it, which was "against the Xbox Live policy". Probably due to its connection with the negative use of the word, many people still have this word in their name regardless.

Microsoft came under heavy fire for this, with some stating that names were being censored. Microsoft defended itself when it said that it had received a complaint that the name was "of a sexual nature", but unfortunately many people have now been banned as a result of this word confusion.

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For more on company controversies, check out Zack Whittaker's iGeneration column or for more on Google, visit the ZDNet All About Microsoft column.

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