CanWest's Randy Boswell, in his just-published article, Microsoft dismisses music player's linguistic lapse, reports the following:
"A Microsoft spokeswoman in Montreal told CanWest News Service that 'it was pointed out to us' during focus groups in the province that the proposed brand name sounded much like a French-Canadian term used as a euphemism for penis or vagina."Me again: This brings to mind the Buick LaCrosse (renamed in Canada because in Quebec-slang, it could refer to something unmentionable in a family newspaper) and the Chevrolet Nova (wasn’t selling in Latin American countries because it means “won’t go” in Spanish.)
"The French word 'zoune' and the variant 'bizoune' typically serve as a less jolting way of referring to male or female genitalia when addressing children."
What's next? Microsoft Penis 2.0?
Your turn: Got any other examples of badly named products?
About the picture: I snapped this image of the Zune this past Monday afternoon at the Super Target near our hotel/conference site. I came across a couple of store employees setting up the display a day before its Tuesday launch. I excitedly asked them questions about the product - partly to test their knowledge, and partly to warm them up for the inevitable photographic pitch that followed.
See, I had my camera with me (I know, big surprise) and once I finished playing 20 questions with the employees, I asked the younger one if I could snap a picture. He looked at the older guy, who promptly told me no. Not "no" because there was any reason to say no. But "no" because he enjoyed his little opportunity to go off on a power trip. His tone was condescending. He was nasty, and I don't like nasty.
So I sauntered off to another part of the store, and eventually meandered back to the display, surreptitiously looking for my new nemeses. They were two rows over. So I ducked back, zoomed in, turned the flash off, cranked up the ISO and reeled off a few pictures. I got bolder, and approached the display for some closer-in images. Still no sign of them. I walked right up to the thing and kept shooting. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, young guy appeared. Busted. "Hey, I said no pictures!" I smiled, plaintively said I couldn't help myself, that I was addicted, and walked away, hoping that he hadn't just summoned the store's rent-a-cop on his walkie-talkie.
I got to the front of the store and felt the pit of my stomach leap into my throat when I actually saw said rent-a-cop come out of his office and walk toward the electronics section. But by then my group had already begun to gather by the checkout counter. Zune boy and his minder would have to wonder what happened to the snap-happy guy with the strange accent.
I know, someday I'll get caught. That day, thankfully, hasn't yet come. And until it does, I'll keep shooting.