Credit crisis diary: Microsoft's gag orders have little effect

Microsoft must be the most paranoid company in the world. So terrified was it of early leaks about its relaunch of Live Search that it forced journalists briefed on its plans to sign a non-disclosure agreement, a legal contract preventing them publishing any information about Bing, the new search engine, before 4.30pm yesterday. And even then, it didn't tell anyone the name. What a shame then that a quick search on Bing's arch rival Google found 471 separate articles about the relaunch before the deadline had passed.

You still can't beat a bit of bully

It's comforting to know that even in this awful recession, true stars with stand-out professional quality will continue to pick up work. An invite to a quiz night arrives from Fidelity, Britain's biggest provider of mutual funds. It will be hosted by former Bullseye presenter Jim Bowen. Altogether now... that's super, smashing great.

Bank staff don't speak the lingo

Strange goings on at Bradford & Bingley, where a customer report some frazzled staff in here branch yesterday. A day after parent company Santander announced it was getting rid of the B&B name, along with its Alliance & Leicester and Abbey brands, than error messages start popping up on their computers – in Spanish. Is Santander going a little too far with these back office systems mergers?

A glorious send-off for the accounting champ

So farewell then John Whiting, PricewaterhouseCoopers' tax partner, who has bestrode the accountancy industry for 37 years and now plans to retire next month. Naturally Whiting, who is a media star in the world of tax – all things are relative – isn't going without a fanfare from colleagues, who have handed him a lifetime achievement gong at an industry awards bash.

MPs get bosses doing their own checks

News just in from LinkedIn, the social networking sites for professionals: it's not just MPs who have their snouts in the trough. LinkedIn's survey of small and medium businesses says one in 10 are reviewing their expenses policy in the light of recent revelations – 40 per cent reckon they've been ripped off by employees.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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