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Microsoft's challenge to iPhones and Androids extended

Microsoft was due to end its "Smoked By Windows Phone" challenge two days ago. Now it has extended the amusing, but occasionally controversial, promotion until April 5. It's time to prove yourself at your local Microsoft store.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

There is something charming about bravery.

When a company stands up to not only be counted, but to be challenged by all its competitors in a public cage match, you have to applaud.

So I look to my left and see that I am beside myself to hear that Microsoft is extending its "Smoked By Windows" Challenge.

Should you have spent the last few days on your knees, praying that Keith Olbermann will join Fox News, you might not have heard that Microsoft has been allowing its Windows Phones to take on all comers.

Microsoft store employees have been pitting their phones against iPhones and Androids from all over America. Many customers have found it entertaining. Some, however, have become irate.

There was the man in Santa Clara who says he won but was then told he lost. (Microsoft apologized.)

Then there was Vivek Viswanathan, a graduate student who threatened Microsoft with the dreaded legal profession after he claimed he won not once, but twice at the Atlanta store, only to be denied the "Hunger Games" Special Edition PC prize.

Indeed, the Atlanta store might be something of a hotbed of amusement after another dissatisfied challenger wrote to me saying he was forced to take the challenge again after allegedly winning. The second time, he says, the Microsoft store representative "had an app loaded with data and simply finished it in 1 second."

Microsoft, though, must be enjoying the entertainment the challenge is bringing to its stores.

However, the Verge reports that only the first 100 losers at each store will qualify for a free no-contract Windows Phone -- which had, until now, been the reward of all who were defeated by the Windows Phone's lightning reflexes.

Losers number 101 through 500 will merely be offered a $25 gift card. It seems that loser number 501 will just be a loser.

Surely, then, this is the weekend to put your skills to the test. Please read the rules carefully. Be prepared for the challenges to automatically favor the Windows Phones.

Oh, and in Atlanta, be prepared to take the challenge more than once. It seems the Microsoft folks there just don't like the thought of losing.