Microsoft apologises after Windows Phone marketing cock-up

"Smoked by Windows Mobile" marketing stunt goes wrong as store staff deny that a bloggy won with his Android phone.
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Microsoft was forced to apologise after staff in a Microsoft retail store in Santa Clara denied that an Android phone had beaten Windows Phone in a 'Smoked by Windows Phone' marketing event.

The software giant has been running a marketing campaign in retail locations in the US in which store staff challenge owners of Android smartphones to look up information with the chance to win US$100 if successful.

However one Microsoft store upped the ante and also put up a $1000 laptop up for grabs. Skattertech's Sahas Katter headed to the store to challenge Microsoft, armed with a Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 but despite winning the challenge, store staff declared that he had lost "just because".

Describing the event on his site, Katter revealed how he had placed weather widgets on his home screen and disabled the unlock screen. Thus when the challenge was delivered to display the weather in two cities, a triumphant Katter simply pressed the power button on his Galaxy Nexus and said "Done!".

"After trying to push for a real answer since I clearly won the contest by their rules, another Microsoft Store employee (possibly a manager) came by after noticing me asking more questions," Katter said.

"Thinking on his feet, he quickly gave a ridiculous out-of-thin-air reason that I need to display the weather of different cities in different states and that “my phone could not do that”."

Microsoft manager Ben Rudolph later tweeted: "I want to make things right. So I've got a laptop & phone (& apology) for you."

The Verge later discovered that Microsoft's marketing campaign was 'tweaked' with techniques for tailoring the challenge "appropriate to your customer" which in this case means avoiding challenges that would result in a loss to certain models of Android phone.

"You should also steer clear of this challenge against an HTC Status (i.e. the Facebook Phone) as it also has a built in pocket-to-picture-to-post feature," Microsoft reportedly told store staff.