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Following the leak of Microsoft’s recent “Gmail Man” spoof, a new video from the company’s annual sales confab has surfaced on the Internet today.

Starring top Microsoft execs Qi Lu (Bing), Chris Capossela (marketing), Andy Lees (Windows Phone) and Kurt DelBene (Office), it’s the latest in a long tradition of Microsoft spoof videos, typically shown at internal meetings or public conferences.

These videos follow the formula of putting the company’s executives in lighthearted situations and allowing hilarity — or at least mildly awkward inside jokes — to ensue.

In trying to understand why Microsoft made the video, keep in mind that this was originally meant for an internal conference. It seems to be mostly about warming the Microsoft crowd to the executives they’d be hearing from, and taking some (very) mild jabs at the competition. It was posted by blogger Long Zheng, and it has quickly started spreading virally.

In Microsoft’s defense, the video page on Vimeo notes that it’s an alternative version from the one shown at the conference. Maybe all the best lines were in the other version.

But Jay Greene of CNet, who has seen more than a few of these videos, isn’t so impressed with the latest effort — writing that it’s “a far cry from the virtual highlight reel of spoofs Microsoft has created over the years.” He cites the example of this video, with Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates poking fun at Sun Microsystems by adapting a VW commercial that was popular at the time.

Yep, sometimes there’s nothing quite so good as the original … no matter how pixelated it gets.

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