Microsoft has performed a rather bad taste stunt to promote the upcoming launch of Windows Phone 7, staging a frankly pathetic funeral parade for BlackBerry and the iPhone, our sister site ZDNet.com reports.
Celebrating Windows Phone 7's release to manufacturing, the procession in Redmond came complete with hearses and cloaked Microsoft pallbearers, with caskets made up to look like the iPhone and BlackBerry. More photos are on Flickr.
For some reason, some funeralgoers also broke out into a choreographed Thriller dance (below). Hopefully Microsoft has been working as hard on Windows Phone 7 as it seems to have done on its dance moves. Darth Vader also appeared on a motorcycle.
It was probably simply high jinks by an inebriated group of employees, but you still wouldn't think this was the wisest thing to do, PR-wise. Comparing an OS that's received some pretty damning advance buzz to two of the most successful systems around stinks of a hubris that would make Ozymandias blush.
The casket of Android was conspicuously missing from the cortege, which was strange, considering it's probably the smart phone OS Microsoft should be worrying about the most. Analyst firm IDC says Android would really break through in the next four years, impacting on iOS and BlackBerry sales.
IDC certainly didn't feel that Windows Phone 7 was capable of 'burying' the iPhone and BlackBerry, predicting that Windows Phone 7 was going to stay as the fifth biggest OS, behind Symbian, BlackBerry, Android and iOS.
But Microsoft is prepared for the fight. Windows Phone 7 is a complete overhaul of Microsoft's previous attempts in mobile. It has worked on the music side with a potential Zune streaming service, and also games with a raft of titles available at launch that will integrate with Xbox Live.
Was it wise for Microsoft to pull this stunt, or will its rivals have the last laugh? Is it just a bit of light-hearted fun? We'll be interested to know what you think.
Image credit: Tricoculus, via Flickr