10 Interesting Facts You Don't Know about Microsoft (Probably)
Article by George Norman
On 07 Jun 2017
I mean really, who isn’t familiar with software giant Microsoft at this point? But if you were to ask someone like my mom about it, the only thing that’s going to come out of her mouth is "they make Windows, right?"

There’s lots more to know about Microsoft, on top of the fact that it develops the Windows operating system. Don’t worry, I’m not going to spout a bunch of boring company details that you’re not going to care about. What I am going to do instead is list 10 facts that I hope you’ll find interesting.


1. The original company name had a hyphen

The company’s name was originally spelled as Micro-Soft, not Microsoft. Paul Allen and Bill Gates spelled it that way because the name was a mix between microprocessor and software.

Microsoft’s first official logo didn’t feature the hyphen. But since the company was founded in 1975, the logo had a very distinct 70s feel, as you can see here.

2.The first Windows had a lousy codename

Using codenames is very common in the software world and, most times, developers go for something that sounds pretty cool – like Opera Reborn or Project Scorpio.

The codename that Bill Gates chose for the very first Windows edition wasn’t cool-sounding at all. The name was… Interface Manager.

3. Gates' first name isn’t actually Bill

Everyone knows that Microsoft was co-founded by two people: Paul Allen and Bill Gates. But did you know that Gates' fist name isn’t actually Bill?

His actual name is William Henry Gates III. His dad’s name is William Henry Gates Sr. and his mom’s name is Mary Maxwell Gates.

4. Microsoft has a huge art collection

You wouldn’t have guessed this since Microsoft is all about technology, but it has the one of the largest corporate art collections in the world. There are almost 5,000 pieces in the Microsoft Art Collection, including a chandelier by Dale Chihuly, whose works are considered unique in the field of blown glass.

The collection started in 1987 and at that time, the art pieces occupied 6 buildings. Now they occupy more than 180 buildings around the world.

5. Microsoft cafeterias serve a lot of French fries

According to Microsoft By The Numbers, a website that presents interesting statistics about the company and its products, Microsoft employees in Redmond, Washington eat about 984,000 orders of French fries in campus cafeterias.

Microsoft’s Redmond campus is estimated to have around 30,000 and 40,000 employees.

6. Microsoft’s fiber optics network can reach the moon

Microsoft’s fiber optics network is so huge that if you were to stretch it out, it would reach the moon. And back! Three times over!

And if you were to take all the pixels from the aerial imagery within Bing Maps, you could make four round trips to Venus and still have some pixels left.

7. Gates got The Rock to introduce the Xbox console

Before being a big Hollywood star, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was helping Bill Gates promote the Xbox console. At CES 2001, after delivering his keynote address, Bill Gates presented the Xbox console alongside The Rock.

Although the original Xbox sold a lot of units, 1.5 million in just 3 months, Microsoft lost money on it: $4 billion in 4 years, from 2001 until 2005. That may sound like a lot to you and me, but keep in mind that Microsoft’s revenue for 2005 was $40 billion.

8. Jennifer Aniston did a corny guide for Windows 95

Remember Windows 95? Yeah, me neither. But what will forever be burned into my memory is the corny Windows 95 video guide starring Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry.

Still, it could be worse. Much, much worse!

9. Microsoft paid Seinfeld millions for a scrapped ad campaign

Back in 2008, Microsoft’s newest operating system was Windows Vista and to promote it, the company kicked off a $300 million ad campaign and reportedly paid Jerry Seinfeld $10 million to be the poster child for said campaign.

Unfortunately, the ads starring Jerry Seinfeld – and Bill Gates – were so poorly received that Microsoft scrapped the whole thing and went with the "I’m a PC" campaign instead.

I don’t know why you would want more of that, but I feel obligated to tell you about this second ad.

10. Microsoft rescued its arch-nemesis, Apple

Today, Apple is a huge company with more than $215 billion in reserve. But this wasn’t always the case. Back in 1997, the company was in trouble and, had it not been for a $150 million investment from Microsoft, Apple would have gone bankrupt.

In the video below, the late Steve Jobs acknowledges Microsoft’s help and... it goes as well as you would expect from a room fool of Apple fans.

At least Bill Gates was never accused of stinking. You know, in the literal sense.

In related news...

Here are a few things that you may not know about Bill Gates.

Tags: fun facts, Microsoft, Windows, Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Dwayne Johnson, Jennifer Aniston, Jerry Seinfeld, Apple, Steve Jobs
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
You can follow him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter

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