Microsoft
By Barb Darrow
September 21, 2015

One question: Who is Ahmed Mohamed’s PR person?

The Irving, Texas high school student who freaked out his teachers and was arrested by local police for bringing a home-made clock to school, now has a bunch of new tech swag, including a Surface Pro 3 from his new best friends at Microsoft (MSFT).

Mohamed’s arrest sparked an outcry among those who felt the reaction was overkill and that he was targeted because he is Muslim. One contention was that, since the bomb squad was never called, there was never any real fear that the clock, a bundle of circuit boards and wiring, was a bomb, as first suggested. Mohamed’s sister documented much of what happened and her photos helped spur the story on. Some of the flailing presidential campaigns might take note of this strategy.

Outcry on social media, including the massive #IStandWithAhmed Twitter (TWTR) thread, ensued.

Since the kerfuffle, Mohamed has appeared on MSNBC, gotten invitations to MIT (reportedly his “dream school”) as well as Harvard, received a T-shirt from NASA; a White House invitation from President Barack Obama; and praise from Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The general thinking was that Mohamed is the sort of can-do techie this country needs.

And, as to be expected, there has also been backlash from former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and others who said that the reaction to Mohamed’s arrest was as overblown as the arrest itself.

And, some of the comments on the Microsoft blog post announcing the goody bag blasted the company for using the kid to promote its products.

For more on how engineers can change the world, see the video below.

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