Whilst we’re certain some kind of tomfoolery will ensue amongst its employees, any jokes from this year on will be carried out behind closed doors. In an internal staff memo obtained by The Verge, Microsoft’s head of marketing, Chris Capossela, placed a ban on pranks and asked his staff to stand down on practical jokes in the public domain.
Given the planning that goes into these onetime pranks, we can’t help wondering if Microsoft’s employees had a trick up or two their sleeves prior to the ban. In his memo, Capossela hinted he may have been given a heads-up about impending mischief. He said that the company could be harmed by such pranks.
Whilst Microsoft has declined to comment, the response from the general public is mixed. Many workers have applauded the move by Microsoft, viewing April Fools’ Day pranks as a crass interruption to their working day. However, others have admitted to laughing out loud at the past creative antics of the tech world.
In 2015 Samsung announced their must-have kitchen knife, the Galaxy Blade edge – “the world’s first smart knife with smartphone capabilities”. And Google delighted users by announcing the classic arcade game Pac-Man would be available to play on Google Maps.
Although there may have been a handful of successes, April Fools’ Day shenanigans have backfired on major companies in the past. In 2016, Google was forced to apologise for incorporating a ‘Despicable Me’ minion gif into their email send button, causing chaos amongst its Gmail users. Email recipients were unable to respond to the offending emails, resulting in a loss of business and missed deadlines for some angry and frustrated users.
Waving goodbye to public-facing April Fools’ jokes is a good move by Microsoft. The company has participated in its fair share of pranks over the years, but perhaps it’s time to smarten up and protect their brand.
Microsoft may be leading the way in the tech world when it comes to pranks, but they’d be fooling themselves if they thought they could truly quash a 500-year-old tradition.
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