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back to article Microsoft apologizes for digital head transplant

Microsoft has apologized for digitally removing the head of a black man from a website photo and replacing it with the head of a white man. Yesterday, countless bloggers and other netizens noticed that Microsoft's Polish site had reproduced a photo from the company's main English language site - with one obvious change. The …

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All the bases covered

The black man is old which means the woman must be handicapped and the asian gay. The original pretty much covered everything then.

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Gates Halo

Is he the new Michael Jackson?

shamone!

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FAIL

Wow

Fail.

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Jobs Halo

MacBook

Congrats. I think you were the first to notice the MacBook. Amazing the Polish didn't Photoshop in an HP somethingorother.

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Bronze badge

Also unusual is...

...the fact that the Dell monitor isn't plugged in to anything.

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Stop

racist?

interesting everyone automatically assumes its about race - and yet they left the asian guy in?

maybe its because the black guy had grey hair and was the oldest in the pic, maybe they wanted it to reflect a younger more "dynamic" image ?

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Because

Becuase there isn't enough variety in feckless managerial idiots smiling as their salaries increase for holding meetings about meetings imagery laying about on stock photo sites. No. Let's instead photoshop one. Badly.

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Joke

Somewhere in Microsoft...

...heads are rolling.

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Stop

Also worth noting

The LCD on the table has no cables connecting it to a computer, let alone power. Way to market, Microsoft.

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Alert

@ M. B. / unplugged monitor

Don't you see, that's why they need to "empower their people with the IT tools they need". The unempowered never learn to RTFM, try turning it off and on again, or see if it's plugged in.

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FAIL

Stock photo

Generic "smiling people in suits with computers and plenty of racial/sexual diversity" photo from iStock* - $5

Copy of Photoshop - $700

Bad head-transplant job performed by the office intern - $7.50/hour * 5 minutes = 62 and a half cents.

Extracting a public apology from Microsoft - PRICELESS!

* NOTE:

"The company has not addressed the laptop in the middle of the photo. It appears to be an Apple MacBook. But like the black man's head, the Apple logo seems to have gone missing."

Stock photos can't have visible trademarks unless they're for strictly editorial use, so the photog who created the original would have had to edit out the Apple logo.

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WTF?

...and being replaced.

Somewhere in Microsoft...

heads are rolling...

and being digitally replaced with different heads

Anyway, I don't think it's a racial thing in particular. But it is very silly nevertheless. The monitor not plugged into anything and Macbook are of course even more silly (per M.B. and Cade Metz@El Reg.)

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Lack of cultural sensitivity

It is stunning that in an attempt to be culturally sensitive by using images of diversity that they can so utterly miss the very same goal of being representative in homogenous countries when sending it out to all the subsidiaries. It mocks itself.

Hate to say it because as an ex-pat I am just slamming my countrymen, but get a freaking clue and perhaps a document management system of some sort so the images can be swapped out easily. Whole world out there that doesn't speak a foreign language since to them English is a foreign language. They do not use MM/DD/YYYY. They have their own currency.

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Not the 1st time

I remeber when Ford got caught doing the same thing in the late 80's early nineties.

Their excuse was the poster of a sample of UK workers was amended to more accurately reflect the ethnic balance of the east european country they were re-using it in.

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light and shadow

One other thing that seems to be wrong is the lighting. The new head appears to be predominantly lit from the left side. Everything else is being lit from the right. A bit glaring, that, if you'll pardon the expression.

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Anonymous Coward

Black man, white woman

Wow.... Google has thrown up some interesting ads alongside this story.

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Headmaster

Isn't it obvious?

Poland is in The Matrix. One of the Agents is taking over the body of the black gentleman, but he's only 25% complete.

Or 24%, since he isn't wearing sunglasses.

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FAIL

The Very Concept of Photo Forgery Is Epic Failure

And when it's done this badly...

I don't think that the actual intention was to kick out the black guy, but rather to introduce a white one. Assuming that there are more men then women in IT in Poland (which is a pretty safe bet anywhere in the world) and considering that Poland has neither native nor immigrated black or Asian population of any significant number, you'd be hard pressed to find an IT office without a single white male in that country. I assume that that made someone believe that this skewed demographics would make it less likely for an average Polish IT worker to relate oneself to the people in the picture, and then he realized what's just the right thing to do. One awful Photoshop job later and every IT portal in the world is talking about them, bravo! Of course, this could have been done without decapitating the poor black guy by simply snapping a photo of a few local people and thus get some local mugs on the local site (probably) without all this fuss, but where's the fun in that?!

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Cool story bro.

Don't you just hate that?

It's the new "FAIL".

Or is it - "+1"?

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New version

Microsoft's Photoshop skills have apparently inspired some people to post their own variations, such as http://img402.imageshack.us/img402/7308/microsoftlocalisation.jpg

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The real issue...

You have all missed the real point here...

Microsoft are not being racist themselves, they are accusing the whole Polish population of being racist in that they would not buy products advertised by black people!

Class action by a whole country coming up....

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Flame

not a bad job

seeing they probably only had MS Paint to work with ;)

ok I lied I pulled off better alterations with MS paint long before I used paintshop or adobe ;)

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Paris Hilton

Regardless of the skin colour...

...the extraordinary smiles are the same.

(Maybe Paris knows why.)

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Off with his head

An Apple computer in the picture... off with his head.

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FAIL

Silly

So the Microsoft marketing department believes Poles will respond negatively to people of negroid ancestry? Apparently Microsoft = Silly.

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Ke
Stop

Target Market

Why is this racist?

Chances are that in the target market (Poland) IT professionals are predominate white males or females - given that the percentage of darker skinned people living in Poland is extremely low ( http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090421123804AAgqIEs ) this is highly likely the case.

Good advertising should connect with the target market and typically this involves using local actors. MS's approach may be cheap or efficient depending on you view - but it is not necessarily racist.

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Apologists

"Some have said that in pairing a white man's head with a black man's hands, Microsoft is displaying a commitment to racial harmony."

Microsoft probably doesn't have the same level of fanaticism from its fanboys as, say, Apple whose fanboys would defend the most disturbing things, but in any case, such people are mere apologists for racism.

Is it Microsoft's fault, Microsoft's Polish business unit's fault, Polish society's fault? Perversely, Microsoft HQ is least likely to be at fault (this time, unlike on most other occasions) by merely being guilty of not supervising its underlings properly. Sadly, in their near monopolistic position, Microsoft Poland can (if we are charitable) be fairly accused of pandering to racist attitudes perceived in Polish society, instead of challenging such attitudes.

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Boffin

It might be a Macbook

I know this might be hard to believe but it could actually be running Windoze.

Some crazy people even install Linux. I don't know why.

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FAIL

Considering their software...

...why should we expect them to be competent in any other area?

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Worst spin of the week.

"pairing a white man's head with a black man's hands, Microsoft is displaying a commitment to racial harmony"

Give me a fuckin break!

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Coat

Palisade Defense commercial anyone.

Not very PC.

Mine's the one iwtht he copy of "Severance" in the pocket.

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Unhappy

Too meta

>> "pairing a white man's head with a black man's hands, Microsoft is displaying a commitment to racial harmony"

> Give me a fuckin break!

So did AC miss the joke, or did I miss AC's meta joke? it's all too hard...

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clearly

After the IE7 n/e/ne1/lolwtbbq debacle this is clearly a metaphor to frighten the Easter European censors.

You cut off one head, another grows back.

Even Adolf couldn't pull off that trick.

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FAIL

Lighting

the "new guy" has a shadow of his former head on the same side as his face is lighted.

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Extra legs

Is it just me or are there a few extra legs under the table?

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FAIL

@AC chumps

"Some have said that in pairing a white man's head with a black man's hands, Microsoft is displaying a commitment to racial harmony."

On planet earth, we like to characterise comments like this as 'tongue in cheek' or perhaps 'taking the piss'. Such mocking is characteristic of a characteristic of human nature generally known as 'humour'.

How you twerps with your bleating about fanbois and apologists managed to get past the moderatrix I don't know. You should be given a spanking and forced to spend a week posing for stock photos.

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FAIL

@supersat

...and it's a better job than the MS photshop effort - at least the lighting is from the correct side!

MS had a 50% chance of getting the lighting angle right but seemingly a 0% chance of anyone spotting:

a) That an altered picture was being used

b) That the lighting was from the wrong angle

c) That their marketing department are idiots.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: @AC chumps

I wasn't here, but I am now. So.

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Why?

Why do people do this? The people that decide to do this must be really stupid. It is in the nature of adverts that many people will see them and, sooner or later, some people will see both adverts and spot the difference. All they have to do is just use a different picture with their chosen mix of ethnic/gender/age groups.

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Both just as bad?

When I opened up the article I could only see the original image, and my first thought was "that guy in the middle's obviously been pasted over someone. Political Correctness Gone Mad etc".

Only to scroll down and find out my mistake.

Seriously, how is it that some people manage to look photoshopped in real life?

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Could be good marketing

How many people have looked at that page who otherwise wouldn't.

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@Geoff Johnson

"How many people have looked at that page who otherwise wouldn't."

If the rule of "no publicity is bad publicity" has a limit, this is it. Every single person who has looked at that advert has thought "wow, what a bunch of stupid tossers". Even racists won't feel more inclined to use Microsoft, because they'd be annoyed that Microsoft used a black man in the first place. And you can't use the "raising awareness" excuse because everyone already knows about Microsoft, at least, everyone who would have come across this news article.

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re:MM/DD/YYYY

Much of the English speaking world doesn't even use MM/DD/YYYY for goodness sake.

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Interesting metaphor...

The woman is maintaining a fixed grin whilst slowly - so slowly - her hand edges towards the "escape" button. Armageddon-ouda-here.....

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Anonymous Coward

re: MM/DD/YYYY

@ Craig 28

No it's not "much of the English speaking world", it's pretty much ALL of it. In fact Wikipedia says "the vast majority of the world's countries" (whether they are English speaking or not).

It's only the USA and a couple of tiny countries (like Belize and Micronesia) that routinely use MM/DD/YYYY.

Everyone else uses a sane system of either big or little endian.

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Y'know

I think those smiles are fake too.

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Empty suits

I'd say that the black guy's head was pasted on too.

If you go to the original at http://www.microsoft.com/businessproductivity/default.mspx and zoom in (ctrl+), the head is too big. The wrist is a different color than the hand too.

Maybe MS just has a bunch of pics of empty suits, that they paste random heads onto.

@Sarah Bee: Too bad you're ignoring me, as this post contains a perfect line for a "that's what she said" response.

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Jobs Horns

Ve Are Not Vacist Pigs

Microsoft are ze new vave. Hitler lives in Poland & is in contwol of Microsoft. Ve vill have no more blck people unless zey are in cages. Asians are cleaners so zey are allwight but ze blck people zink zey can be vhite but zey are wong. Cut zere heads off, zuck zere guts out zrow ze skins away, nobody knows how much I love my zree blcks every day.

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FAIL

way off the mark

Were in the 21st century, and someone changed a photo.

Only the person who changed the picture and who he works for and with know the real reason why.

So the options are either:

a) It was changed to reflect a younger dynamic group

b) It was racist.

c) On the page the image looked incorrect or clashed or contrast drawing the users attention away from some other item

Or perhaps it was one of a million other possible reasons.

This is a prime example of a problem with society, the word Racism has to be the most abused word we today know of, positive discrimination then exists.

So when something like this happens, were so forcefed thinking of others etc, and not wishing to offend people we end up doing just that by shouting "racist"

Microsoft didnt add a caption, nor did they add inference to his race / religion / orientation, all they did was replace it with a different image for whatever point they had to advertise, it was those who saw it first who implied it was racist thing to do.

Which means it cant possibly be racist as there was no reason for it to be seen as such, there was no victim other than those going round saying it was racist either offended because some person none of us actually know was removed or jumping on the bandwagon to appear to be in tune with modern society.

Plus microsoft even said sorry as they had no idea it would cause any sort of insult etc.

So ppl need to get off there high horse and just learn to live with everyone in the world and dump racism because now its creating the issues it was designed to name and shame.

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Linux

I'm Polish but I'm not racist

hi guys. i hate m$. i'm linux user. i'm polish. i'm not racist. joke, because someone might think, that in poland only racists are (incorrect grammar, i don't care). idiots R everywhere

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