The tech industry is booming these days and doesn’t show any signs of declining anytime soon. There are a few giant corporations within this industry, Microsoft being one of the most well-known names.
Even though other brands like Apple keep vying for the top spot, Microsoft has retained a respectable dominance within the tech and computing industry. One may not find out all the secrets of their success in one go, but here are some interesting facts about the company for a start:
The First Mention
The first mention of Microsoft was by the founder Bill Gates himself, who wrote it in a letter to his partner and co-founder Paul Allen. This was back in 1975, but Gates actually wrote it as “Micro-soft”. This was a more logical choice as the word is a hybrid of the words ‘software’ and ‘microcomputer’.
However, the named actually registered was ‘Microsoft’ without the hyphen. The registration itself was in New Mexico, 1976. This was the place where Allen and Gates worked on the MITS, the first proper computer launched by Microsoft. In 1986, the company shifter to Redmond in Washington.
The Windows 95 program had a startup sound that’s now iconic. It was actually composed by Brian Eno, then a pioneering musician. Now, the musician is an influential being in his own right and has worked with names like U2 and David Bowie. He’s stated that having to make that short musical piece was quite ‘funny’ but also ‘amazing’. He also compared the project to that of making a tiny jewel.
Microsoft and Food
The giant tech corporations today focus a lot on providing free food for their employees. This is probably to keep them motivated and promote a family-like atmosphere. Google provides a lot of snacks, but Microsoft usually limits itself to just drinks. Even this is quite generous, as around 23 million free beverages are distributed and consumed each year on its premises.
The top two drinks for Microsoft employees are orange juice and milk. If someone works in the Microsoft campus shuttle, they’d probably have aces to free candy as well. There are also 35 cafeterias for the company, which serve around 37,000 staffers every day. The most popular meal on the menu is pizza.
The first name that Gates came up with for his company was “Interface Manager”. This is quite a dry term which may not have gone down well with customers. Fortunately, an employee convinced him to change it before the launch. Ever since then, Microsoft has made extensive use of codenames for every project. These include the names ‘Vienna’, Lone Star’, and Longhorn’.
Interestingly, if a certain project gets dropped, its codename might get used again for some other endeavor. The gap between uses might be a few years in order to avoid confusion. Usually, Microsoft doesn’t reveal the final official name until shortly before a product is supposed to be launched.
Microsoft employees have a nickname for themselves, the ‘Softies’. Overall, the average Softie is a male in his late thirties. The average developer’s salary is around $106,000. As of now, Microsoft has more than 88,000 people in its employ. the company’s premises measure over 32,404,796 feet and number 50,000 in the United States alone.
Surprisingly for such a modern company, Microsoft has a very high male to female workforce ratio. Of the total workforce, 76% are male.
Microsoft has several little traditions of its own, as any other company does. The anniversary tradition is especially quirky, with employment anniversaries being celebrated with candy. More specifically, they celebrate with M&Ms. With each anniversary, every Microsoft employee has to bring one pound of M&Ms for each year that they’ve been in the company.
The stock of a company is split when the share price gets too high for anyone to buy. This is a sign of success and expansion, with many large companies having to split their stock several times. Microsoft is one of them, having gone public in the March of 1986.
Since then, the stock for Microsoft has split a total of nine times, six 2-for-1 and three 3-for-1 versions. The result of this is that 288 shares of today would be equal to one share of Microsoft in 1986. The first offering per share back then was $21. Since Microsoft already had a decade of working in the computer software market, it was seen as quite the investment. Hence, going public earned Bill Gates around $61 million.
The artistic inclinations of Microsoft might come as a surprise, but Microsoft is among the largest collectors of art on a corporate level. It owns thousands of contemporary art pieces, which include photographs, studio glass, ceramics, paintings, multimedia, sculptures, etc. The company collects the art from all kinds of artists, from the up-and-coming ones to the big names like Takashi Murakami and Cindy Sherman.
Around 150 of Microsoft campuses have the art on display. This is due to the belief of the company that art pieces displayed at a workplace can reduce stress, encourage useful discussions, enhance productivity, and even increase the employee’s expression of their opinions. This care for their employees is probably one of the best reasons for their success and expansion.
The story of Microsoft asking potential employees some very strange questions is quite famous. perhaps it does this in an effort to hire unique individuals who think outside the box. For instance, one question might be ‘Why is a manhole cover round?’.
These questions might be the stuff of urban legend, but the forward-thinking questioning is actually quite logical. They might also ask the candidates to think about problems like drinking coffee in outer space or solve a riddle. This would prove that the individual thinks in a creative manner and is hence worthy of being inculcated into Microsoft
The Microsoft company holds more than ten thousand patents, just like Google is acquiring several other companies every week. Microsoft also files about 3,000 patents every year, making it among the top patent owners within the United States. Most of the patents are for little-known software elements, but a coupe a well-known. These include the technology for the Microsoft Surface, which linked actual objects with images and data.
If a Microsoft employee manager to secure any new patent, they get a sizeable reward for their efforts. No one knows what kind of idea might become valuable in the future, so it makes sense for a large corporation to acquire all the patents it can. Hence, an employee with a new patent f given a $1,500 bonus, a plaque, and a black cube with their name, the patent title, and the date inscribed on it.
Microsoft may be a giant company and a market leader right now, but it was mostly the result of hard work and continuous effort. Bill Gates has certainly had several failures and setbacks, but his research and endeavors continue to this day. Small companies and even the larger ones can learn a lot about Microsoft, so the above facts would hopefully help them out.