Microsoft Fined $50 for Defacing New York

by David Sklar

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Perhaps I'm playing into their sinister "building brand awareness" at any cost strategy by highlighting it here, but Microsoft doesn't seem to have any boundaries at all when it comes to advertising.

Two weeks ago, they couldn't find anyone actually admit they switched from a Mac to Windows XP, so an employee of their PR firm had to pose as a Windows user.

Now, while burdening the world with a new version of MSN (what does a new version of MSN include? More modems to take your calls? More animated paper clips?) they coated the city with their annoying decals.

The New York Times article has some funny "claim you're right, actually do the research later" quotes from a Microsoft PR flack, like "There are permits for everything". I'm going to try that the next time Timothy Hutton and I are putting the finishing touches on a new "Turk 182" mural in the West Side rail yards -- "We have a permit for this, officer."

To be fair to Microsoft (aren't I broad-minded!) they are not alone in the world of illegal city-defacing PR. Nike recently put down some illegal decals in New York. Other companies have done it in the past, whether it's decals or spray-painted stencils.

AOL is releasing a new version of their service now, too. Maybe next week AOL stickers will blanket Redmond.