This year, Microsoft has strongly discouraged its employees from doing any April Fool's stunts, at least in front of the public. The order was given by marketing exec Chris Capossela in an internal memo obtained by The Verge.
Long story short, Capossela is worried that any prank Microsoft tries to pull could get taken seriously by people who forget what day it is.
"Considering the headwinds the tech industry is facing today, I’m asking all teams at Microsoft to not do any public-facing April Fools’ Day stunts," Caposella wrote in the memo. "I appreciate that people may have devoted time and resources to these activities, but I believe we have more to lose than gain by attempting to be funny on this one day."
Microsoft may have a point here. News moves quickly these days and there are legitimate concerns about the way fake articles can spread on social media unchallenged. Even something as innocuous as an April Fool's prank about the Zune or Windows M.E. could unintentionally pass through a filter somewhere and create headaches for Microsoft's PR department.
With Microsoft possibly gearing up to promote hard-to-believe products like an Xbox One that doesn't have a disc drive, the company might need to stay on the side of truth as much as possible this year. It will be worth watching how other tech companies respond to this. Some might eventually follow suit, while others could use the void created by Microsoft to come up with even more grandiose gags.