back to article Microsoft gets Speedos in a twist over half-naked 'Meter Maids'

Microsoft has upset a bunch of bikini-clad Aussie “Meter Maids”, after a promotional stunt backfired on the company. The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that Microsoft had hired the women to appear at its TechEd conference on the Gold Coast. Some of the 2,700 attendees at the event grumbled that the half-naked ladies' …


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  1. davefb

    What a job!

    So a microsoft representative spent "two to three weeks looking at photographs of the girls".. Nice work if you can get it ;)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Put my name down

      for a bit of that!

  2. Neil Alexander

    "getting more women to join the IT industry"

    In which case, they need to be hiring men to stand around in speedos, not women.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      That would drive the audience away..

      Given what I've seen on various beaches, *men* in Speedos is not a good view. IMHO, of course.

    2. Robert E A Harvey
      Paris Hilton


      Don't you mean 'budgie smugglers', not speedos?

    3. Hollerith 1

      One word: Aussie-bum

      The posters for these swim trunks and Speedo-like swim briefs for men have stopped women in their tracks. I have seen this myself.

      Trouble is, advertising IT with a strapping Aussie lad as bait, or having them trotting around a convention in their skivvies, would only lead to crashing disappointment once the IT women turned up on the job, to find the usual suspects in place, and probably seated next to the hygiene-shy mouth-breather who likes extra anchovy on his pizzas.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Trust Microsoft

    At least they brought some good looking girls- Apple would probably bring that effeminate guy that plays in their mickey mouse 'I'm a Mac' ads...

    1. Ball boy Silver badge

      Well, if we're going down the what if...route

      Then I suspect Mac would have send some sleek-looking women whom everyone privately desired.

      However, they'd have significant disadvantages: (please ignore the rest of this post as I am now obliged to refer to exactly how you're allowed to touch the items in question and how many fingers you're supposed to use when you do it).

      ....with apologies to Ms Bee., who's bound to get all the flack if she lets this one go.

  4. Charles E

    All publicity is good publicity.

    Microsoft managed to get more publicity for its dollar with this stunt. It's all over the newspapers. You can't buy publicity like that.

    I personally agree with the theme of the conference that more women should be working in IT. Specifically, I want to see more women in gold bikinis working in IT.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge


      "....I want to see more women in gold bikinis working in IT."

      I read that and looked round the office.

      Pass the mind bleach if you please.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    That's so unfair

    I went to tech-ed in Berlin last year, but MS didn't lay on any bikini'd beauties there!

    1. Matthew 4

      Simple solution:

      Move over to Aussie :) I assure you the climate is far more agreeable.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    *getting more *bikini-clad" women to join the IT industry

    Fixed! I think this is a great idea and fully support it

  8. Phil Rigby
    Paris Hilton


    Not necessarily - most of the women I know in IT are lesbians anyway, so maybe good looking women would be the thing to draw more women into IT. Or perhaps they're only lesbian when I ask them out. Who knows.

    Paris... explanation really needed?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      Ahhh that old chesnut. Proberly not, they just think you're a slimey, sad loser. Thats why they turn you down for drinks and offers of lunch dates.

      The (few) women in our dept, about 50% are hotties and straight. The others are ok. Which I'm sure is a higher looker to minger ratio than us guys here.

    2. A J Stiles


      I used to meet loads of lesbians before my gender reassignment surgery. Now, all the other chicks seem to be straight.

      Mine's the one that buttons right-over-left.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Professor Tinklepants

          @ Prof William

          I was once a man trapped in a lesbians body.

          That took some explaining when we got to the emergency room.....

    3. Anonymous Coward

      @most of the women I know in IT are lesbians

      that's just what they tell you to put you off. really they're so totally hot for you they're creaming their jeans fo' yo'

      is your sample statistically valid?

  9. Doug 3

    they even tried to spin this before coming clean?

    After hearing so many stories of how Microsoft warps things into One Microsoft Way( their street adress ) style, I wonder why any press org even attempts quoting them.

    If they had their own Babel fish, it would have some kind of direct link to a Public Relations filter so that every word spoken was twisted into PR-speak with a requirement for no more than 5% truthfulness.

    Seriously, they tried to claim they didn't know what they were going to be wearing? That's right, I now recall them telling a Federal Judge they hadn't edited a courtroom video for days until the prosecution proved they lied by noticing icons on the desktop changed throughout the video.

    Way to go Microsoft, still acting like the same company after all these years.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I LOLed!

    "The garments were chosen specifically by them over a period of two to three weeks of them looking at photographs of the girls," she claimed.

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      3 weeks...

      Yeah... My God, does it take THAT much deliberating?

      I thought the gold was nice however.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Top that


    1. Big-nosed Pengie


      in bikinis.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Oh no

      A bunch of Linux geeks standing around in Speedos - can't see how that would recruit *anyone* I'd want to be associated with.

      Full disclosure: I only run Linux on my hardware.

  12. Craig 28

    Re:Men in speedos

    Catch is that would attract only straight/bisexual women and gay/bisexual men. What you really need is a mix of both men and women in swimwear, with a ratio similar to that of straight to lesbian women in the populace. Bisexual women should be counted towards both totals for the sake of fairness.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What about a few goats and sheep too?

      Please don't discriminate against those with wider interests.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Already served

        The aussies have been served already, don't overdo it.

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      to quote Linda LaHughes...

      ...There ain't no such thing as bisexuality, it's just greediness!

  13. Tom 7

    FAST should look into this

    then we could call them FAST? - premature mate!

  14. Nightkiller


    What is this? Australia? Have their techies turned into feminist idealogues?

  15. Anonymous Coward

    I'm shocked, shocked!....

    ... that the generally youthful, overwhelmingly male ("One of the key talks at the conference had been a discussion about getting more women to join the IT industry...") IT crowd would be interested in gawking, er, uh, looking at scantily clad women.

    I am so disgusted by this I'd like to learn more, to prevent this sort of thing from happening again, yeah, that's it.

    How about a link to the pictures from other angles?

  16. peter 45

    Microsoft Morality

    ...and I don't mean the morality of using minimally attired ladies.

    I mean the morality of lying, erroneosly blaming the innocent, lying again and then only coming clean when they have been proven to be lying.

    Think about that next time you read a microsoft statement or denial.

    <icon of pants on fire>

  17. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Foot & Mouth disease

    There appears to be no cure, so maybe Microsfot should be shot (like our best cattle were).

  18. TonkaToys
    Paris Hilton


    We've just started using Microsoft's Threat Management Gateway web filter - which blocks the Meter Maids website, classifying it as Pornography.

  19. ian 22

    two to three weeks of them looking at photographs of the girls

    What were the girls wearing in the photographs?

    I can visualise the situation at M$:

    "Its been 10 days you've been looking at them photos, Bruce! It's my turn!"

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I don't get it

    Can someone please explain the connection between parking enforcement and skimpy gold swimwear?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Oh come on...

      ...most men will dribble and go yes miss and happily accept the fine. Oh the other half out with hubby will take ticket and tell him to hurry up get in car, thus preventing him slobbering on his shoes. As for the ladys.

      Meter Maid: Here's your fine, btw, luurve you shoes..

      Woman: Bitc...really? Do you like them? Ok. Ticket you say...Thanks.

      In the UK you get some jumped up little hitler (ooo is that allowed these days?) that you just want to punch in the face. So you spend 50 minutes shouting and trying to make them see sense about your bumber being 1nm over the line.

      See whats works best.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      The Gold Coast

      No, really. That's the link.

    3. bugalugs
      Paris Hilton

      @i don't get it

      for many years now, the shire council of the gold coast has

      promoted its tourism friendliness by employing bikini-clad

      woman to pop coins in expired parking meters, so that

      tourists having a good time don't have to worry about

      parking fines. not knowing whether you have to have an

      interstate plate to qualify one cannot say whether this is

      of direct fiduciary benefit to the locals, but the on-going

      stunt has generated a ship-load of publicity over the years.

      paris because ronaldo the dermo-technician's post

      about her post-chiropractic visit to the beauty parlor

      for a facial and brow-waxing missed yesterdays cut...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Huh, okay.

        I guess that makes some kind of sense. I wasn't expecting it to be even that logical.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spot The Difference

    "Redmond claimed it had no idea what attire the meter maids would be dressed in until TechEd kicked of"

    "Redmond claimed it had no idea how crap Vista was until the day of the launch"

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lies? Did I say Lies?

    "She told the SMH that Microsoft in fact chose what outfits the women should wear "

    "Microsoft makes everything you do easy" --- I suppose after that, any, ummm not-quite-truth is easy.

  23. Charybdis
    Thumb Up

    Not Indicative!

    For the record, the IT Girls I know would have enjoyed the event, although some Gold Coast boys (Manpower? Thunder from Down Under?) should probably have been likewise involved in the name of fairness. The Gold Coast is called 'BrisVEGAS' for a reason!)

    Seeing as MS chose the outfits (Classic!) but in other news articles around the world are claiming ignorance (ie sounds like a few people at Gatesworld are panicking in the PR backpedalling...

  24. Head
    Thumb Up


    These girls are just one of the reasons i holiday in Surfers as often as i can.

    Such a nice slice of the world, it gets 300 days of sunshine a year :)

    And these girls are awesome. Switched on, happy, and damn nice.

    M$ is just retarded to try to blame them.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    objectified women

    Am I the only male who not only agrees that women are indeed objectified when sent in swimwear to these events, but that the companies who hire them seriously stereotype their (male) customers, too?

    Personally, I find it a complete turn-off and tend to avoid going to the stands where these occur.

    For the record: Married twice, 4 kids. It's not as if I don't appreciate the fairer sex. :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Yes you are. Indeedy. ... What was that again? Reptile brain just sent a Non-Maskable Interrupt, memory is gone.

      1. Martin

        Actually, no he's not...

        I entirely agree with him.

        Of course it objectifies women. By definition, the women employed by this team are being selected PURELY on the basis of their looks - they have to stand around and look good in bikinis. That's objectification, pure and simple.

        And yes - I frankly find it embarrassing to see women like this at trade shows - or anywhere else except at the beach or hotel swimming pool, in all honesty.

        I thought this sort of thing went out in the seventies.

  26. Neoc

    I call "Bullshit".

    "Microsoft told the newspaper that it was "unaware of their exact costuming until the day of the event, at which time it was too late to be addressed"."

    So, an *Australian* arm of MS holds a conference in the *Gold Coast* with an appearance by the *Meter Maids* and they claim they didn't know what they were getting?(1)

    Bullshit. The Gold Coast Meter Maids are (in)famous ever since their introduction.

    Historical Note: For those of you who don't live in Oz, the Meter Maids were originally a scheme thought up by the Gold Coast retailers. They would walk around in their gold bikinis and "top up" any parking meter that were about to expire. Hence their name. They have since been discontinued, but their legacy lives on via the current "Meter Maid" eye-candy outfit.

    (1) yeah, yeah, I know they've since admitted their stupidity. My flabber is just gasted that they even *tried* the old "who? us?" routine in the first place.

  27. bobbles31

    I for one

    welcome our bikini clad overladies.

    Oh, I'm coming over all Barbarella, which is better than me...never mind.

  28. DZ-Jay

    Re: objectified women

    I agree that this type of thing objectifies women.

    I further agree with the rest of the bunch here and suggest that--perhaps--that's not a bad thing at all.

    The two are not mutually exclusive, you see.


    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Re: objectified women

      Well I have to say I like nothing better than a nice bit of objectification. I mean, people are way too uptight about these things nowadays, amirite? I find it's a bit awkward to objectify myself, but I try to do my bit by wearing tight t-shirts with risque slogans on them, and having low self-esteem.

      1. Roger Jenkins

        Re: Sarah


        T-shirt - wet

        Undergarment - Zero

        Photograph - Please

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: Sarah

          Y'all so predictable.

          1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

            Re: Re: Sarah

            Well, we're boys, heh :P

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: objectified women

        "people are way too uptight about these things nowadays, amirite?"

        Speaking as the anon of the original post: I don't think I'm being uptight about it. Just uncomfortable. I don't feel I try to push my thinking onto other people, but I do walk away from it myself.

        I also happen to think that there's a world of difference between choosing to wear tight t-shirts every now and then for your own sake, and being paid for dressing up in a bikini to promote a product you know nothing about and don't understand.

        1. Robert E A Harvey
          IT Angle


          it's not as bad as being paid for answering a phone to support a product you know nothing about and don't understand.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Usual Microsoft lies.

    Unusually they get caught out by them thou. They normally have enough $$$$ to buy their way out of trouble/controversy.,

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice quote

    "We provided a little bit of glamour to an event that otherwise would've been pretty boring."

  31. Bodincus

    It took a while...

    ...but eventually Sarah Bee chimed in.

    Thank you for a clear insight into your irreprehensible stance.

    Now we need the support of pictures, y'know m'lady, to address our morale around Your Supreme Highness.

    Don't be so sarcastic, female (and male!) beauty has always been used to make the world a better and nicer place, singe Greeks' and Romans' times, with beautiful statues of naked bodies decorating private homes, streets and buildings.

    Many other world renown and celebrated artists have portrayed naked bodies, and they are proudly on show in the most prestigious art galleries and museums throughout the world.

    What is wrong with Anglo-Saxon derivative cultures that see a naked body as a shame, a disgrace, demeaning and wrong?

    Get your facts right, y'all: we're all born naked.

    P.S. BTW it's "risqué", it's French, and without the accent is the USofA spelling.

  32. CheesyTheClown

    Objectified? You mean employed?

    While we're at it, I looked very carefully, they were definitely far more than half naked. I'd say closer to 9/10ths.

    Forget the objectified bullshit. I would sell my soul to be able to supplement my income by wearing skimpy swimwear in public. The ladies were all paid for their time as well I'm sure. Wouldn't it be objectifying them to tell them "even though you obviously put a lot of effort (and in some cases money) into shaping your body for the purpose of employment, it's wrong to accept payment for wearing clothing that makes people enjoy looking at you.". If anything, they're the women who are taking charge realizing that they can get ahead in life by using their "gifts" to get paid well while generally taking life easy.

    That said, my wife and I are going to a concert this evening with a former sports illustrated swimsuit cover model and we're both looking forward to speaking with her about how well her successful businesses (which employee quite a few people) that she started by wearing skimpy bathing suits "objectifying her" are working out. Ohh... former super model turned successful entrepreneur doesn't work for your "objectifying women" theory?

  33. YumDogfood

    Hire a supercar, and then find out how much men get objectified...

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)



  34. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Yeah stupid execs - tits and arse parade.

    So what - people ARE sexual beings, not self dividing bacteria.

    MS - being as stupid as ever, failed to cater for the gay and some of the bi elements of the audience by tossing in a ...... tossing in a heap of scantily clad men....

    "Jesus - he was scantily clad!"

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