By now, you've probably heard the news.
Microsoft this week unveiled the Windows 8 operating system and Surface, the PC giant's entry into the tablet market.
There was the requisite showbiz style opening event in New York City that we've come to expect from the latest must-haves in the tech world. And, just in time for the holidays, there will be Microsoft retail outlets around the country, and here in St. Louis where we can purchase them.
If only that was the story I wanted to tell.
You see, Microsoft has a rather high-profile office space in Creve Couer, located at CityPlace. I thought that some of the folks who work there might be playing some role in the development of these products. I'd love to have been there Thursday as presumably, employees were gathered around, watching the unveiling presentations, presumably on a large computer monitor, maybe popping corks in celebration of their role on what's probably a pretty big day for the company.
I sent my requests through the Microsoft PR apparatus and got very polite responses to each one. Unfortunately, they all said no. No to a local interview. No to a picture of triumphant employees looking on with pride. No one from the company would even tell me if the Creve Coeur office played any role whatsoever in the development of these products or why they wouldn't tell me that. Kind of like pressing Control/Alt/Delete without saving your work. You're done.
They would set me up with at the local store to show me how Surface works, so I guess that's something. Just not the story I wanted to tell.
In case you're wondering, I'm not telling you this to beat up on anyone or get anyone's sympathy. I've worked for big companies before and do right now---Patch's parent company is AOL. I know why there are rules for stuff like this. There's a process you'd have to go through if you want to interview me, for instance. Everyone's worried about "forward-looking statements," corporate secrets and intellectual property. It is the proverbial par for the course.
But at the end of the day, this would have been a very "Patchy" story, how local folks played a role in a company's big day. That's a story I should have been able to tell.