SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft on Monday apologized for a "tweet" that has been blasted for seeming like a blatant effort to cash in on the death of 27-year-old British singer Amy Winehouse.
"Apologies to everyone if our earlier Amy Winehouse 'download' tweet seemed purely commercially motivated," Microsoft UK PR said at a 'tweetbox360' account at microblogging service Twitter.
"Far from the case, we assure you," the message continued.
Microsoft became a target of online ire over the weekend after the same Twitter account posted an update inviting people to remember Winehouse by buying digital versions of her "Back to Black" album at social.zune.net.
The Zune website is Microsoft's shop on the Internet for downloading music, films and other entertainment content to computers, smartphones, and Xbox 360 videogame consoles.
Replies on Twitter criticized the Microsoft message as "crass" and "vile."
Winehouse's latest album topped the sales chart at Apple's online iTunes music store on Monday while her defiant "Rehab" song was the tenth best selling single track download.
Winehouse's parents on Monday visited the growing shrine of tributes left outside her London home as a post-mortem on her body failed to establish a formal cause of death.
Winehouse was found dead at her house on Saturday and the police are not treating it as suspicious. The cause of death remains unknown.
With her sultry vocals and trademark beehive hairstyle, Winehouse was considered one of the finest British female singers in years, but she had struggled with drink and drug addictions.
"With Amy W's passing, the world has lost a huge talent," Microsoft UK PR said in its most recent tweeted message. "Our thoughts are with Amy's family and friends at this very sad time."