A Guardian article reports that Microsoft has now:

"...launched geography classes for its staff to avoid further bloomers which have caused embarrassment and cost money on a grand scale. He said that as a geographer himself it was depressing that Americans had a reputation for being particularly unaware of the rest of the world."

At the International Geographers Conference in Glasgow (er, that's in Scotland) Tom Edwards, senior geopolitical strategist at Microsoft provided a hint to some of the challenges of dealing with cultural sensitivities.

"For example when employees were arrested in Turkey because Kurdistan had been shown as a separate entity on maps of the country, a decision was taken to remove Kurdistan from all maps.

"Of course we offended Kurds by doing this but we had offended the Turks more and they were a much more important market for our products. It was a hard commercial decision, not political." "

In fact most of the examples given in the Guardian article seem to be more around political/cultural sensitivities challenges rather than straight geographical errors.

Anyway, I'm off to Bournemouth for a long weekend (which is in the south of England, which is part of the UK which to the surprise of many Britains Britons (thank you Duncan!) is actually part of Europe. Just swim north from Normandy in France across the English Channel and you'll be there in about 10 hours. Alternatively, row east from Barbados across the Atlantic - plan for a 6 week journey.)