Microsoft's stunt to hire 'meter maids' at geek conference backfires

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Sydney, Aug 26 (ANI): Microsoft's tactic to hire "meter maids" to titillate attendees of its TechEd conference on the Gold Coast has backfired after the company received huge criticism from its own staff over the move.

The software company has said that it had no idea that the girls would be half naked after the promotional stunt backfired spectacularly.

The company has apologised after it earned a stinging rebuke from its own staff members and a number of the 2700 IT workers it was trying to court at the conference, which is designed to encourage developers to write software for Microsoft platforms.

The meter maids, iconic figures on the Gold Coast with skimpy gold bikinis that leave little to the imagination, were present at the welcoming reception earlier this week.

Ironically, a key session at the conference was devoted to "women in IT".

"It seems that there are still marketing and promotional folks in the IT world who consider objectification of women to be ok," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted female IT worker Kate Carruthers as saying.

"Sadly this issue has detracted from Microsoft's long history of supporting and encouraging women in IT and from their workshop that is part of the conference today."

Even Microsoft evangelists Nick Hodge and Catherine Eibner expressed their dismay on Twitter.

Eibner, who hosted the women in IT lunch at the conference, said it was "a badly done attempt at providing local Gold Coast context".

In a statement, Microsoft said it would like to "sincerely apologise for any offense caused by the promotional staff".

"We were unaware of their exact costuming until the day of the event, at which time it was too late to be addressed," the company said. (ANI)

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