You can tell that Steve Ballmer is a Harvard boy. When Microsoft Corp.’s CEO was asked about one of the company’s public relations firms getting further ahead of the truth than what goes for normal at Microsoft, he replied: “If that’s right, I will certainly castigate the offender.” Naturally, a better class of language than you would expect from non-Ivy League schools like the trade school a few miles down the Charles River. We train ’em good here at Harvard.
The incident that caused Steve to get so worked up was one of the dumber things done by the public relations side of a major U.S. corporation in years. The last case like this that I can remember was AT&T Corp. issuing a press release announcing that the one-time biggest company in the world – whose stock was considered safe enough for “widows and orphans” (some of you readers might not remember those utopian days) – was adding the “Hot Channel” to its cable TV companies’ lineups, thus proving two things: that pornography is still a technology driver; and that PR departments can be stunningly na