I know, because I was there
As Borland's UK PR representative at this conference, I can confirm the above story.
Just to add some detail:
- the Hawaiian shirts were purchased early afternoon in downtown Palm Desert. However, we didn't buy 3000 - more like 70 - nevertheless, a few eyebrows raised when the PR expenses were submitted
- the brief was simple - get everyone as drunk as possible in the shortest amount of time. If anyone was capable of standing and thus attending the MS dinner, they hopefully would incapable of remembering anything or saying anything intelligible
- by all accounts somebody did throw up in the back of one of the limos - however, I was too busy trying helping everyone consume more booze at the Borland hotel to notice
Of course, this was merely one of a series of entertaining episodes at this conference. The press contingent in particular helped to play their part.
Here's a trivia question - which El Reg journalist hired a car and drove to Mexico for the day and got stopped at the border on the way back? Answers on a postcard please.