Ten Things You Didn't Know About Microsoft

Company anniversaries, weird interview questions, and more

By on April 25th, 2014 15:31 GMT

Microsoft is undoubtedly the number one software company in the entire world and although it makes serious efforts to evolve beyond the software world, everyone will still call it “the Windows maker.”

The Redmond-based company currently has nearly 95,000 employees and with Nokia's takeover that was completed today, its workforce exceeds 120,000 people worldwide. That's indeed impressive, but it's no surprise that a company so large has millions of users and fans in every single country out there.

Many of you already know most or at least part of Microsoft's history and you definitely know how the company came to be, but there still are a few things that you never heard about. That's the purpose of this article: to reveal ten less-known facts about the company that continues to power approximately 90 percent of the desktop computers worldwide.

#1: Founder Bill Gates was arrested several times

Although he's one of the world's leading philanthropists, Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and one of the richest men in the entire world, was arrested several times when he was younger.

The first time he got arrested was in 1975 when the police pulled him over for speeding and driving without a license. Two years later, he was arrested once again, this time in Albuquerque for running a red light and, again, for driving without a license. Finally, in 1989 when he was already the boss of the software company Microsoft, he was arrested with charges of driving under the influence.

Bill Gates is now a role model for everyone, as he spends most of the time working for his charity, while also investing part of his fortune for developing vaccines supposed to cure a number of diseases in poor countries on the African continent.
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#2: Microsoft employees eat a lot of pizza

If you're wondering what is the favorite food of the average Microsoft employee, the answer is as simple as it could be: pizza. Microsoft's workers are eating quite a lot of pizzas every year and the company has every reason to be proud of this.

According to the Microsoft by the Numbers page, company employees are eating no less than 554,000 pizza slices and an additional 250,000 personal-sized pizzas every year.

Sandwiches are also among the favorite “dishes” of Microsoft employees, as one million sandwiches are eaten every 12 month in campus cafeterias. “The most popular sandwich is the turkey club – 225,000 are eaten annually,” the company says.

#3: Free drinks for the win

After eating so many pizzas, Microsoft employees obviously need to keep themselves hydrated, so they're drinking quite a lot of beverages. That shouldn't be a problem, though, because Microsoft is offering all drinks free of charge.

According to statistics, Redmond employees are drinking 2.6 million gallons of free beverages per year, out of which 40 percent is Coke Zero. Without sugar that is.
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#4: M&M for every single anniversary

You eat a pizza, drink some Coke, but what's for desert? The right answer would be M&M, but only if it's someone's anniversary.

Microsoft's employees are celebrating their anniversaries by bringing in lots of M&M. Workers who have posted on their blogs such news said everyone needs to bring one pound of M&M for each year spent within the company, so in case you've been with Microsoft for the past 8 years, you have to buy no less than 8 pounds of M&M. Whatever flavor you wish.

#5: The Redmond campus is full of bunnies

Like Easter eggs in Microsoft's products? So do we, but it turns out that the company might not be so excited when hearing about the Easter tradition.

It appears that the Redmond campus is actually full of bunnies and the company one time had to ask the local authorities to help control the bunny population. According to some unofficial sources, it all began during the '90s when someone near the campus abandoned lots of bunnies who obviously reproduced like... bunnies, so they quickly became a problem for everyone.

The population has already been reduced, but it seems that bunnies are still everywhere you look in the Redmond campus.

#6: Windows was first called “Interface Manager”

We all know that Microsoft's operating system is called Windows, obviously because it has... err... windows, but there was a time when Bill Gates and Paul Allen were considering a different name.

The first Windows version, simply called Windows 1.0, was launched on November 20, 1985, and Bill Gates wanted to retail it as “Interface Manager.” The reason was pretty obvious, as the new operating system was more like an interface that allowed users to manage files. Of course, it was still based on MS-DOS, but it was still bringing some improvements.

Rowland Hanson, the head of marketing at Microsoft, was the one who brought up the idea of “Windows” as the name of the operating system, pointing out that such a designation would help sell the product better.
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#7: Bill Gates never wanted a 32-bit operating system

Microsoft's co-founder, then CEO, now technical adviser, Bill Gates said during the '80s that “we will never make a 32-bit operating system.” While he seemed very serious about it at that time, Microsoft rolled out Windows NT, a 16- and 32-bit based operating system in 1992, approximately 10 years after the made this statement.

Of course, the company continued to develop 32-bit editions of Windows, so all successors had such versions, including Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1.

At this point, 64-bit versions of Windows are indeed selling better, but there's no doubt that this was one of Bill Gates' bad predictions.

#8: 75 percent of the employees are men

As mentioned in the beginning of the article, Microsoft has nearly 94,000 employees worldwide and with the acquisition of Nokia, the company also adds another 25,000 people to its workforce.

Although more women are taking over top jobs in the tech industry (see Marissa Mayer at Yahoo), 75 percent of Microsoft's employees are men and the company doesn't seem to have any problem with it.

Of course, there are several successful women within the company, including Julie Larson-Green who was at some point chief of the Windows division (after the departure of Windows boss Steven Sinofsky).
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#9: Weird interview questions for Microsoft jobs

Getting a job at Microsoft shouldn't be too difficult if you have the necessary skills, but it turns out that candidates have to answer some pretty difficult questions during the interviews.

For example, we've heard from candidates that the employer was asking why the manhole covers are actually round, while others were trying to find out how much a 747 aircraft really weighs.

And that's not all. Here's one of the questions asked during an interview for a job at Microsoft (credits go to pingdom.com):

“You have a bucket of jelly beans. Some are red, some are blue, and some green. With your eyes closed, pick out 2 of a like color. How many do you have to grab to be sure you have 2 of the same?”

#10: Apple sued Microsoft in 1983 for stealing its drop-down menus

Microsoft and Apple are still fierce rivals these days, but in 1983 the fruity-named company was ready to move the dispute to the court.

At that time, Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, was upset that Microsoft's new Windows 1.0 has too much of the look and feel of the MacIntosh and was ready to sue the software giant for stealing his fonts and drop-drown menus.

Bill Gates, however, defended the UI of his operating system by explaining that he used the design from Xerox, but eventually decided to abandon some of the elements he used in Windows 1.0 to avoid a legal dispute.
Did you know that Bill Gates was arrested for running a red light?
   Did you know that Bill Gates was arrested for running a red light?
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