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Microsoft's has fessed up that its Internet toilet, the iLoo, was a hoax.

The witty prank had news organizations scrambling for reaction:

"This is another demonstration of Microsoft moving into new product areas to expand its revenue base," IDC analyst Roger Kay told CNET on May 2.

You don't say.

"This is not a joke," the Seattle Post Intelligencer's Dan Richman assured us.

Microsoft UK, god bless 'em, dreamt up the ruse as a way of publicizing the MSN UK portal. The iLoo had an authentic press release - therefore it was "genuine" - in which MSN product manager Tracy Blacher described the toilet , dubbed www.c like so: "The MSN iLoo is not a bog standard affair. We are looking at vacuum powered options and the very latest broadband enabled technology to ensure the best loo-surfing experience."

The hoax took in the Wall Street Journal and generated yards of coverage in the tech press simulacrum. So in terms of publicity, it's an idea that landed with a splash. ®

Coming soon: After long deliberations, a winner has been found in our multimedia competition: we shall announce the results and post the sound of a wooden nose growing in Redmond later today.

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