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A tweet by Microsoft UK caused an uproar today by suggesting its followers remember the late singer Amy Winehouse by downloading her “Back to Black” album on the company’s Zune music service. The company was roundly criticized for trying to capitalize commercially on the singer’s death, and in a follow-up tweet Microsoft apologized to anyone who was offended.

It was reminiscent of the backlash earlier this year over Microsoft Bing offering to donate $1 to Japan relief for every retweet.

The criticism of the Amy Winehouse tweet may well be justified, but here’s my question: How is the Microsoft tweet different from the Apple promotion below? Actually, the main difference is that many users access Microsoft Zune via the Zune Pass subscription service, so they wouldn’t be paying incrementally more if they took Microsoft up on the offer to download the Amy Winehouse album.

Apple is selling Back to Black for $9.99. Where’s the backlash over what iTunes is doing?

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