Microsoft's Marketing Chief Has Spoken Out Against April Fools' Day Pranks-and He's Not JokingIf you're a fan of Microsoft's products and/or intellectual property—think Xbox, top-notch PCs, and Minecraft, specifically—you're probably assuming that the company's employees and software developers, because their work is so difficult and centers on helping others to relax and have fun, will pull a prank or two during April Fools' Day, which, as always, is scheduled for the first day of April. Unfortunately, you couldn't be more wrong.
As a matter of fact, Microsoft's corporate division has taken a decidedly anti-April Fools' Day stance. Chris Caposella, Microsoft's chief marketing executive, stated via memo (and in more words) that April Fools' Day pranks—particularly those that aim to entertain customers and the public generally—should be abstained from, as he believes that they can create negative news and unwanted media attention. An employee or group of employees recently leaked the in-house memo, which, incidentally, has created a considerable amount of media coverage—the exact thing that Caposella wanted to avoid!(And for the record, if you or someone you know works at Microsoft, Caposella's warning is most definitely not part of an elaborate April Fools' Day prank; he seems pretty serious.)
Just why he seems so serious is a matter of debate. Companies—especially those that work in tech—often partake in April Fools' Day, and the opportunity to make an impression on clients and onlookers is usually utilized as a PR episode.
Last year's holiday (and prior holidays) didn't bring any instances of media trouble in response to a company's prank, and it's unclear which—if any—negative news Caposella was citing when he spoke on the matter. We can however be sure that his sentiment is legitimate, and that the feeling is shared by Microsoft's other executives.
And if this news comes as a major, major disappointment to you—after all, April Fools' Day is a widely appreciated holiday! —you can satisfy yourself with two facts. The first is that the holiday hasn't yet arrived, and anything is possible. The second is that Caposella seems to be more concerned with public pranks—meaning changes to Microsoft services and/or platforms. Even if clients aren't able to witness Microsoft employees' tricks and fun, that doesn't mean that these employees won't be playing tricks and having fun together.
The world of app development and mobile app development is competitive and tough, and brief breaks and respites from work—even when they come in the form of simple holidays—are appreciated by employees. To be sure, even if you won't admit it, you're probably eager to partake in (or, at the very least, witness) some lighthearted gags during this year's April Fools. Out of the 365 days in each year, it's safe to say that a decided majority consists of "business as usual"; it's always nice to mix things up.
Moreover, although Microsoft's team won't be able to do so publicly (without breaking the rules), other tech companies, including Google, and Yahoo, are sure to help us have a good time, as they have in prior years. Software developers can enjoy the day!
At the time of writing, no other memos limiting and/or banning April Fools' Day activities have surfaced. As the holiday draws nearer, additional memos and corporate instructions should be viewed suspiciously, as they may very well be jokes intended for the day itself.
The employee(s) responsible for leaking Chris Caposella's memo hasn't come forward, and it's strongly recommended that he or she not come forward at all.