Microsoft changes story, says iLoo not a hoax

What's true with the iLoo? Microsoft and its public relations firm have changed their story — again — about whether its United Kingdom division had been developing an Internet-enabled portable toilet.

On Monday, three representatives for the Redmond software giant told news agencies, including The Associated Press, that an April 30 news release trumpeting the "iLoo" was a hoax and apologized for "any confusion or offense" for the joke. But on Tuesday, the company reversed itself, saying the iLoo had been real — only it's now been killed.

"We jumped the gun basically yesterday in confirming that it was a hoax and in fact it was not," said Lisa Gurry, MSN group product manager. "Definitely we're going to be taking a good look at our communication processes internally." It's a public relations embarrassment for a company that's famous for micromanaging news releases, interviews and promotional events. "It's definitely not how we like to do PR at Microsoft," Gurry said. The iLoo was described as a portable toilet equipped with a wireless keyboard and a height-adjustable plasma screen with high-speed Internet access. Microsoft's MSN division was "in the process of converting a portable loo to create a unique experience" in time for the summer festival season, according to the release.

Several news organizations carried reports of the iLoo project, including The Associated Press. An AP reporter specifically asked whether the reported project was a hoax, and received assurances last week from Microsoft, its PR firm, Portland, Ore.-based Waggener Edstrom, and another PR firm in London, Red Consultancy, that the project was real.

News source: Usa Today

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