Alternate Reality

Microsoft Unveils eRace 1.0 Photo Editor

Company to offer race-altering photo editing software to people of all creeds and colors; vows to “hire more ethnic-looking types.”

By (@tynanwrites)

August 26, 2009

The story you're about to read is not (entirely) true. It is, however, more accurate than most things on network television.

microsoft US siteMicrosoft has apologized for changing the race of a person shown on one of its European Web sites, after a beta test went severely awry.

As reported by C|NET’s Ina Fried, a photograph on Microsoft’s US marketing site titled “Empower your people,” depicted an Asian man, a black man, and a white woman.

In the same photograph on the site of Microsoft’s Polish subsidiary, however, the black man’s head was lopped off and replaced with a white man’s, though his hand remained black.

Microsoft quickly removed the altered photo, which was widely attributed to faulty use of PhotoShop. However, eSarcasm has learned that the mistake was in fact caused by a new Microsoft product, still in beta.

microsoft polish siteAn Eastern European tester of Microsoft eRace 1.0 inadvertently posted the offending photograph to the Polish site, sources close to the Redmond company have confirmed.

Codenamed “Jacko,” in honor of the late Michael Jackson, eRace makes it easy to swap a photo subject’s ethnicity from Asian, Black, or Hispanic to Caucasian with just a few clicks of the mouse.

For example: Load this photograph of six extremely white people into eRace.

extreme white people before

Choose the African ethnicity filter, and viola – an instant ethnic makeover.

extreme white final

A special blend feature also allows users to create mulatto effects, known colloquially as the ‘Halle Berry.’

When it launches later this year, eRace will allow politicians to create instant rainbow coalitions for use in campaign marketing materials, enable users to alter photos of old lovers from that “experimental phase” in college, and allow guilt-ridden liberals to back up their claims that some of their best friends are African-American, even if they’ve never actually spoken to a black person.

Microsoft apologized for its insensitivity in unveiling the racial conversion software while it was still buggy. The company also vowed to immediately begin hiring more black people, if it ever ran into any in the greater Seattle area.

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