If you want to know what the Kool-Aid tastes like at Microsoft, check out this clip of its Nevada Licensing employees offering up their own "I'm a PC" anecdotes. It's not quite as cringeworthy as the Windows 7 Launch Party and not as bizarre as the IE8 vomit girl ad, but it's definitely painful to watch.
I was most intrigued by this brief segment in which an apparent Reno-based Microsoft Licensing employee jokes, "I'm a P.C. and I'm a criminal." On the wall in the background, there appear to be pictures of two to three other mugshot photos - perhaps also Reno employees? Exactly what is she referring to?
Given that we believe that these employees are the folks that have helped Microsoft avoid nearly $1.25 billion in taxes, interest and penalties since 1998 under questionable legal status, you would think they might be more careful about joking about illegal activity.
From our discussions with Washington State's Department of Revenue, Microsoft Licensing's corporate activities are supposed to be clearly separate from Microsoft's Washington-based corporate activities. However, we've heard one anecdotal report of the company mailing its customers from Redmond with envelopes printed with return addresses from Nevada. We've also heard that the company was continuing to move employees from Redmond to Reno to comply with state law - twelve years into its tax avoidance activities.
This whole "I'm a PC and I'm a criminal" thing may be funny to Reno-based employees but in Washington State, we're facing a $3 billion deficit due at least in part to Microsoft's tax avoidance activities. We don't think this topic is very funny.
Note: We're hoping Thursday's election counts (4:30 pm expected release) will help determine whether former Microsoft executive Rep. Ross Hunter will be defeated by his opponent Diane Tebelius. Right now, he is only 911 votes ahead with about 32% more of the vote to count. Hunter led the $100 million tax cut and tax amnesty for Microsoft in this year's legislative session.