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Read Microsoft’s Cringeworthy Millennial-Bait Email

July 7, 2016, 2:05 PM UTC

For any corporate recruiter thinking about adding more millennial-friendly phrases to your vocabulary, please let Microsoft offer yet another example of what not to do.

The tech giant learned the hard way this week that attempts at hip-speak don’t always go over well with the youth, especially when those attempts are lacking in subtlety and come from a giant corporation.

Microsoft issued an apology on Wednesday after drawing criticism over a recent email sent by one of the company’s college recruiters regarding the company’s upcoming Internapalooza, an annual event for Silicon Valley interns that has included Apple, Facebook, and Uber as past sponsors.

The e-mail from Microsoft haphazardly tosses out millennial-isms, including addressing the message’s recipients as “Bae Intern! <3” and inviting them to a party featuring “hella noms, lots of dranks, the best beats,” and “Yammer beer pong tables.” In other words, the recruiter was offering a lot of food, booze, music, and beer pong games branded with Microsoft’s social network.

The note was addressed to the company’s Bay Area interns (aka “Bae intern[s],” get it?) and it ends with this hollow rallying cry: “Hell yes to getting lit on a Monday night.”

It didn’t take long for the e-mail to make the rounds on social media.

(That last Tweet is from Dan Lyons, author of Disrupted and chronicler of the tech world’s misguided attempts at language. Read an excerpt here.)

Microsoft admitted in a statement on Wednesday that “the e-mail was poorly worded and not in keeping with our values as a company.” Microsoft also said it would look into “how this occurred” and promised to take steps to address the matter.

Fortune has reached out to Microsoft for additional comment and will update this article with any response.


As far as tech industry kerfuffles go, a misguided attempt at courting millennials is fairly tame. But this is not Microsoft’s first public gaffe. In March the company had to own up after problems with its experimental chat bot named Tay. The machine-learning bot with the persona of a teenage girl was meant to engage in conversation with young people, but the Internet quickly turned Tay into more of a racist and sexist tweet-spewing machine.

Also in March, Microsoft apologized after drawing fire for hiring scantily clad dancers to perform at an after-party at the company’s conference for game developers.