As a bit of weekend fun, I decided to look back on the history of our favorite company and highlight some of the most hilarious, endearing, and sometimes cringeworthy, memes emerging from Redmond.
In no particular order, here are our picks for the most culturally important, 100-percent "lit" and thoroughly "dank" Microsoft memes.
1. Developers, developers, developers, developers
Easily the most memorable Microsoft meme, "Developers, developers, developers, developers" shows former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, passionately chanting "developers" at Microsoft's Twenty-Fifth Anniversary event in September of 2000.
What Ballmer may have lacked in foresight, he certainly made up for in passion. Outlandish, terrifying passion.
2. Windows '95 launch party was lit
22 years ago saw the launch of Windows 95 — another massively successful Microsoft OS that helped further propel the company to the global phenomenon it is today. Even though the OS went on to sell millions of copies, it's nowhere near as impressive as this historic dance performed by various Microsoft executives, including none other than Bill Gates. I miss the '90s ... kinda.
Many of us are familiar with Cortana, but do you remember Clippy? Clippy was Microsoft's notoriously-unhelpful digital assistant for its Office applications, and it used rudimentary language cues to offer ... "help." He was disabled for good in Office XP, due to overwhelmingly negative feedback. Poor Clippy.
The moderately creepy paperclip has been the subject of ridicule, admiration, and celebration ever since. You need only type "Clippy" into YouTube or your favorite search engine to see a vast amount of quality meme-ry.
4. Xbox HUEG
A personal favorite of mine, "Xbox HUEG" refers to the gargantuan size of the original Xbox, which was several times bigger than its closest competition: the PlayStation 2. Not only was the console itself bigger, but its controller, the "Duke," resembled a small armored patrol vehicle rather than a game controller.
Wololo is a fun meme, because it references one of the most awesome game franchises of all time: Age of Empires.
In the first game, launched in 1997, "wololo" is the grim battle cry of the Priest unit, which can convert enemy units over to your team. As they cast the spell, they chant "wololo, aoeoaoeoeo" in some strange, made up vernacular until the conversion is complete.
This spawned a wealth of truly "dank" (that's what the kids say, right?) memes during the years. Here are just a few. (Note: This whole article is really just an excuse to talk about Age of Empires. AoE4 pls.)
One of the more current memes on this list, Ninjacat is an internal Microsoft meme started by the awesome KC Lemson. After using the Ninjacat image on a Powerpoint slide, Microsoft employees began asking how they could get it on a t-shirt. Stickers and other merchandise were produced to share with coworkers, until the press saw them at an event. Then Ninjacat hit the internet.
There are now Ninjacat avatar items for Xbox, Ninjacat emojis, and even a Ninjacat statue in Redmond, as the cutesy warrior became the official unofficial mascot of the Windows Insider program.
7. IE sucks
As browsers such as Firefox and Chrome began to take over the web, the bitter resentment of being locked to old, unsupported versions of Internets Explorer (IE) at school and work helped spawn a raft of memes hating on the poor old browser.
Despised by web devs and users alike, Microsoft improved the browser a lot with the releases of IE9 through IE11, but it now lays dormant. IE has been replaced by the UWP-based Microsoft Edge (which you could argue has taken Microsoft's browser efforts backwards rather than forwards).
Microsoft itself parodied the plight of IE in an ad campaign in attempts to change its image. Alas, the internet never forgets.
Ah, who doesn't hate the Blue Screen of Death, or BSoD for short. Every Windows user across the globe has experienced that foreboding screen, which communicates some kind of PC error, typically following a reboot. Even Microsoft has been dogged by the accursed screen, as seen in the above clip.
The BSoD rarely has useful information for the average computer user, merely informing them that they likely have a costly repair on the way. The Windows 10 version of the BSoD at least has a sad face, to let you know that Microsoft totally cares.
Far more obnoxious than the BSoD was the RRoD, or the hated "Red Ring of Death." This notorious Xbox 360 issue cost Microsoft more than a billion dollars in repairs because almost every console shipped during the initial launch period came with an internal time bomb.
The lights surrounding the Xbox 360's on-switch would turn red, indicating a general hardware failure. The failures became more and more frequent until the console completely died, widely believed to be caused by overheating.
Microsoft's revised Xbox 360 S console had far, far lower failure rates, but gamers still remember the shoddy manufacturing, leading to piles of fun (and sometimes mean) memes.
10. Sexy Bill Gates
This last one needs no explanation. Bill Gates is tres sexy.
Work that floppy, baby.
There are plenty of quality Microsoft memes that didn't make this list. What are YOUR favorites? Post them in the comments below, and hey, we just might do another roundup.
Happy weekend, everyone.
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