Microsoft is in the hot seat today after allegedly refusing to award a prize to a contestant in the 'Smoked by Windows Phone' marketing campaign. Sahas Katta, CEO and founder of Skattertech claims he won the contest fair and square but employees at the Santa Clara Microsoft Store refused to hand over the special edition HP Folio Ultrabook.
As per Katta’s blog post, he signed a waiver agreeing to let Microsoft use his photo in an ad campaign and waited in line for his turn. When he got to the front of the line, he was required to power cycle his phone in front of a store employee to prove there were no apps preloaded.
The Microsoft staffer then said the challenge was to “bring up the weather of two different cities.” Katta said he felt as if he struck gold because he already had weather widgets for two cities on his home screen; one for San Jose and another for Berkeley. Furthermore, he had disabled the lock screen on his Galaxy Nexus so after the countdown to start, Katta simply pressed the power button and said “DONE!” out loud.
The store employee finished shortly after, only because she had to swipe to unlock the phone, revealing two weather tiles on her home screen. According to Katta’s account, he was told that he lost. The reason was because Windows Phone “displays the weather right there.” After pressing the matter further, he was told “just because.” Another employee came over and said that he had to show the weather in two different cities in two different states and his phone couldn’t do that. Katta says this was never once mentioned to him nor was it in the rules.
Ben Rudolph from Microsoft has since tweeted that he wants to make things right and is offering Katta the Ultrabook, a Windows Phone and an apology.