Microsoft Apologizes After Botched Windows Phone Challenge

Microsoft is apologizing for a marketing campaign gone wrong, after a tech writer "smoked" a Windows Phone using an Android handset.

In its retail stores, Microsoft has been running a "" campaign, in which participants are challenged to use their existing smartphones to try to in basic tasks. For example, users are asked to send text messages to their spouses, look up the weather, or find highly-rated local restaurants.

In most stores, Microsoft was offering $100 to users who could beat Windows Phone. But Microsoft at its Santa Clara location by offering a special edition laptop valued at over $1,000. That's where decided to take up Microsoft's challenge.

Katta's task was to bring up the weather in two different cities. Fortunately, Katta's Samsung Galaxy Nexus already had a pair of weather widgets on the home screen, one for San Jose, Calif., and another for Berkeley, Calif. He had also set the phone to bypass the lock screen when pressing the power button--a built-in option for Android phones running version 2.3 and higher.

When the challenge began, all Katta had to do was tap the power button. Although a store associate with a Windows Phone was close behind, with two weather Live Tiles on the start screen, the Galaxy Nexus' instant unlock gave Katta the edge.

The Microsoft Store staff didn't see it this way, and claimed that Katta had actually lost. After several employees failed to explain why, another employee stepped in and claimed that Katta's phone didn't win because its two weather locations were in the same state.