Microsoft Promotes Xbox But Not Microsoft

Fake News written by James Baughn on Tuesday, October 23, 2001

from the another-innovative-marketing-scheme dept.

Microsoft is Microsoft's own worst enemy. That's the strategy behind the Microsoft Marketing & Brainwashing Department's new promotional campaign for the XBox. Advertisements and demo kiosks for the console feature the words "XBox" in large letters but leave out one little detail... the Microsoft logo.

"Microsoft doesn't want the average consumer to know that the XBox is produced by Microsoft," explained one industry observer who doesn't want the general public to know that he works for Ziff-Davis. "Who would want a gaming console produced by a company synonymous with shoddy crash-prone crap?"

The promotional campaign can be seen in action at Nacho Hell restaurants. Customers who buy Refried Recooked Bean Burritos receive free game pieces for a chance to win an Xbox. These game pieces, however, don't mention the negative word "Microsoft" except in Flyspeck-minus-one font on the back.

It should also come as no surprise that Microsoft doesn't want the public to know that the Xbox is built upon a modified version of the Windows 2000 kernel.

"Can you just imagine Ford advertising that its trucks are built on Firestone tires?" asked the pundit. "The same principle applies here. What's the point of buying an Xbox if it will crash the same as a PC? As P. T. Barnum pointed out, you can fool all of the people several times (DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows ME) but eventually they're not going to take it anymore."

So far, the Microsoft promotional strategy seems to be working beautifully. This Humorix reporter overheard a conversation at Nacho Hell that went something like this:

Luser #1: Wow, I want one of these Sony Xboxes!

Luser #2: No, you idiot, the Xbox is produced by Xerox!

Luser #3: I don't think so. See this website address? It's That means it's produced by the Xbox Corporation.

Luser #4: Shut up! The damn thing is made by Microsoft

[Rest of group bursts into laughter.]

Luser #2: You've got to be kidding! The only thing Microsoft knows about gaming is Solitaire.

Luser #3: Yeah, and is it going to crash every three minutes? The Blue Screen Of Death isn't a very fun game.

Luser #1: There's no way Microsoft can produce a gaming console like this. You lie! It's made by Sony, I tell you!

Okay, so maybe I just made up that conversation to fill up space. The point still remains valid. The typical consumer will treat a Microsoft logo as a warning label. But if they think the Xbox is produced by another company, then Microsoft can't possibly fail.

...For a couple weeks, anyway. I sure wouldn't want to be the Microsoft tech support weenie fielding calls from thousands of irate users demanding to know why their "Flight Simulator: Terrorist Edition" game was suddenly interrupted by some strange blue screen with the words "Fatal Exception Error".

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