Guy Lawyers Up After Being Denied the Smoked by Windows Phone Challenge Win

Over the past few days, the Smoked by Windows Phone challenge has gotten a lot of negative publicity. It seems that publicity is going even further, as now a man claims that he won the challenge twice in a row before a manager asked him to win again. He’s now decided to hire a lawyer to argue his case.

Vivek Viswanathan is a graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology who on a whim decided to take the challenge and won twice. Despite this, he says the Microsoft Store in Atlanta refused to give him the special edition PC that Microsoft has been advertising as the $1,000 prize. After winning twice, a manager came out and asked him to win a third time.

Viswanathan’s phone of choice was an iPhone, albeit with a few physical problems.

“I had dropped my phone so the physical buttons (except the home key) do not work. I told the associate about the problem and I offered to shut all the background apps and I showed him the same.”

The challenge typically requires that all users power cycle their phones for a fresh start, but it seems the store employee that issued the challenge was fine with Viswanathan simply closing background apps. Once that process started, the employee issued the challenge, which was to open a Facebook page.

“I unlocked the phone and pressed the Facebook icon I had on my screen, placed the phone back on the table and as soon as a page loaded I said done, moments before the associate.”

The Microsoft employee said no, that Viswanathan had not won and said he could have a second attempt. This time, the challenge was to find a restaurant near the store.

With all the due diligence completed, the associate challenged me to find a restaurant near the store. Again, I unlocked the phone opened Maps and pressed R and restaurants showed up as a suggestion (I may have added that to auto correct in the dictionary a while ago) and then hit search. I place the phone on the table and as soon as I got a hit, I screamed done well ahead of the associate.

Despite his apparent win and the associate finally conceding defeat, Viswanathan had to wait around another 15 minutes before a manager appeared and demanded to see a third challenge take place. Viswanathan was understandably upset and has now hired a lawyer in an attempt to gain some restitution from the event. He feels as though the challenge has been misrepresented in the eyes of the consumer.

Sadly enough, it seems as though the Smoked by Windows Phone campaign that started off so strongly is further being dragged through the dirt. As more and more people are allowed to issue the challenge, the rules are becoming vague. Sure, the rules state that the phones must be power cycled, so Viswanathan probably shouldn’t have entered the challenge in the first place. However, Microsoft has a duty to stand beside its employees, even if they’ve made a mistake. I’m sure this won’t be the last time we hear of something running foul with the Windows Phone challenge.

[via CNET] Thanks for the tip, Mark!


  • It’s sad to see this becoming a trend in the campaign. But, that’s what happens when you take a grassroots thing like this and try to nationalize it. There are just too many variables and the people doing the tests need to know it front and back… and probably should have a form for people to sign in agreement of rules/etc.

    (You’re welcome!)