Today, as I walked into TechCrunch headquarters after this morning’s Google Android event, I was approached by a sweaty man who had clearly just ridden his bicycle across town. He’d come to deliver a large, white box that had only a single marking: a tiny Internet Explorer sticker. “This will probably be mediocre,” I said to myself.
“Goofy” would have been a more accurate prediction. Inside, I found a handful of confetti along with an array of crayons, colored pencils, and paints that would put some pre-schools to shame. There was also a single, not-so-mysterious note emblazoned with the text www.beautyoftheweb.com. Given my extensive sleuthing skills it did not take me long to attempt to plug the domain into my browser, only to repeatedly meet a “401 – Unauthorized” error that said I had invalid credentials. My attention waned and I went off to play with my new crayons.
It wasn’t until an hour later (an eternity in tech press time) that I saw an official blog post informing me that this misfire was part of the buildup to the launch of Microsoft’s IE9 Beta — slated to debut on September 15 at a special event called Beauty of the Web.
I’m still not sure what the crayons were for.
Microsoft, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, is a veteran software company, best known for its Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software. Starting in 1980 Microsoft formed a partnership with IBM allowing Microsoft to sell its software package with the computers IBM manufactured. Microsoft is widely used by professionals worldwide and largely dominates the American corporate market. Additionally, the company has ventured into hardware with consumer products such as the Zune and...