[Update: Microsoft has reached out to the press to deny this report, stating that the original source misinterpreted Mehdi's presentation. According to Microsoft, Mehdi's quote about "bridging worlds and offering that to advertisers" was with regard to platforms such as SmartGlass. It also reiterated that they "have a long-standing commitment to your privacy and will not target ads to you based on any data Kinect collects unless you choose to allow us to do so."]
Remember that time that a Microsoft marketing executive told everyone that the company has no intention of using any data collected from Kinect for anything related to advertising? You shouldn't have to rack your brain; it happened only a few days ago. Well, go ahead and disregard that, because Microsoft's VP of marketing and strategy got up in front of a room full of people, and stated that the company hopes to do that in the future.
As reported by Advertising Age, Yusuf Mehdi held a talk on Saturday morning at the Association of National Advertisers' annual convention that was titled "Winning the Game: Xbox Marketing." In his presentation, he touched on ways in which Xbox One could revolutionize advertising, such as increased production values attributed to imaging technology, taking advantage of the gamification movement, and most importantly, the possibility of making data available for market research.
"We are trying to bridge some of the world between online and offline," Mehdi said. "We have a pretty unique position at Microsoft because of what we do with digital, as well as more and more with television because of Xbox. It's early days, but we're starting to put that together in more of a unifying way, and hopefully at some point we can start to offer that to advertisers broadly," he continued.
There's no real surprise here; we all saw this coming the whole way. It's unfortunate, but it's highly likely. But, the fact that two high-ranking marketing executives directly contradicted each other within a matter of days is just embarrassing. We're at the point where maybe no one in Microsoft's camp should open their mouth unless it's to parrot an official company message.
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