Microsoft caught out by half-naked meter maids - http://www.metermaids.com/history.htm

Software giant Microsoft is in hot water down under after using half-naked meter maids to show up to a  conference with the theme "women in IT".

Redmond said it had no idea the "metre maids" it hired to show up at the TechEd conference on the Gold Coast would be half naked.

It would be about the only outfit in Australia who did not know that the metre maids did not go about half naked. The metre maids are iconic figures on the Gold Coast who have a uniform which is skimpy gold bikinis and, er, that is it. Metre maids have been Gold Coast fixtures from since the 1970s and mayor Ron Clarke made them official ambassadors for Surfer's Paradise.

Microsoft has apologised after staff members and a number of the 2700 IT workers who attended the conference complained.

A key session at the conference was devoted to "women in IT".

One IT worker Kate Carruthers told AP that it seemed that Microsoft's marketing and promotional folks in the IT world must consider objectification of women to be ok.

Even Microsoft evangelists Catherine Eibner posted on Twitter that it was "a badly done attempt at providing local Gold Coast context".

A Spokesvole said that it was unaware of their exact costuming until the day of the event, at which time it was too late to be addressed - dressed, shorely?

Tracy Fellows, Microsoft Australia's managing director, said on Twitter that she felt the stunt was "not acceptable PERIOD!" and "no one will be confused that this is JUST WRONG!".