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Microsoft mercifully puts an end to April Fools' Day gags

It realizes that tech company pranks can do more harm than good.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|March 27, 2019 11:34 AM

Do you hate tech companies' forced attempts at humor on April Fools' Day? So does Microsoft. The Verge has learned that company marketing chief Chris Capossela told employees not to indulge in any public April Fools' Day gags through a company memo. Data suggested that these pranks not only have "limited positive impact" but can result in "unwanted news cycles," Capossela said -- to put it another way, they can frequently backfire.

There's certainly evidence to back up those claims. Google had to apologize after its Mic Drop gag created very real havoc in Gmail, for example. And strictly speaking, it's difficult for these stunts to elicit much more than a chuckle. Companies can't afford to create genuine confusion for customers, so they frequently play it safe lest a gag blow up in their faces.

Microsoft wouldn't be the only tech firm refusing to participate in April Fools. Apple was born on April 1st and it doesn't do anything. However, it might start a trend that sees more companies backing away from the tradition in favor of business as usual.

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Microsoft mercifully puts an end to April Fools' Day gags