Step inside the Microsoft Archives and see the past of your favorite company

If you want to step back into the past of Microsoft, then there is no better way than stepping into the official archive room and taking a look around. In an exciting video, Luke Burbank, takes us on a tour through the history of Microsoft.

Amy Stevenson has the official title of “Microsoft Archivist” and spends her days deciding what should be preserved for future generations of Microsoft employees and lovers to admire. Amy has a few different ways of deciding what should be kept, she states that “some things are interesting for exhibit value because they look cool and will cause a reaction later on”, other items are simply valuable and extremely significant. At the beginning of the video, Luke and Amy begin their interview in Bill Gate’s Conversation chairs; two items that were used in his office during the early 1980’s.

If you are on Windows Phone - click here to view the video.

So, why save all of these items? Amy tells us that she is trying to save content they she feels is “important culturally to the world”. Microsoft started as a software company, although we know they have morphed into a hardware manufacturer also, and Amy wants to make sure that not only the software that Microsoft created is preserved, but everything “around it” – that includes marketing materials, records, etc.

But papers, reports, and software aren’t the only things floating around in the archive. Amy shows off a giant server setup from the Windows Server 2003 launch, which was on stage with Steve Ballmer. At the time, the Server had a value of at least $1 million dollars. They also house an Altair unit, that wasn’t the original, but still gives an image of what the company was founded upon.

Lastly, we cannot forget the most important piece in the collection – a giant costume of Microsoft Office’s “Clippy”. To check out the Clippy costume, see a “bitching” Microsoft logo, and the rest of the collection – check out the above video.

Source: MSDN

Michael Archambault
  • Funny, a boss at the firm I was working at at the time tried to get me to use an HP Superdome. What a crate :) It kinda came free on a massive HP Unix deal.  0 value today, glad I said no :) Can't believe how quickly kit and now software are obsolete, the rate of change is incredible. Insanely fast moving times. Enjoy the ride all :)
  • Power Pup and Rocky were always my preferred Office Assistants.
  • That was the Superdome and was killer. There is now a Superdome 2, but it doesn't run Windows since MS dropped Itanium support. What a shame. It's as if they neutered themselves.
  • 0:08 "You work for Microsoft" what the...
  • Really Michael? You deleted my nerdy pick up lines? Those were quality work lol
  • I did. Poor quality for our site.
  • I would like to refer you to the the "Microsoft erects a giant Surface in London" where Rich joins us commenters in phallic references. Also, you can't fool me, Daniel, you deleted them so no one else would steal your pick up lines (;
  • I didn't get to see your pick up lines. Sucks!
  • I like Aperture Laboritories better
  • Yes! More articles that put the human face to Microsoft... Love this.
  • Oh how i miss Clippy now, he was such a buddy. I hated him back then, but I was young and foolish and easily annoyed by things popping up in my way.
  • Crap I'm old.  None of that stuff looked that old to me.
  • Hot!
  • Good times, its nice to have a blast from the past.
  • 1 - The guy is absolutely right about the Microsoft logo. With the new square design, that logo should definitely come back. 2 - That clippy was responsible for a lot of guilty trips. I was always desmissing him and ended up feeling guilty for just dismissing the little guy who was trying to help. 3 - Those skulls are awesome...yet...given the current attack on Nokia...I can't help feeling that yeah, that represents MS's corporate spirit. 4 - This damn thing made me feel old as hell. I still remember when the OS was MS-DOS.
  • When I was in school learning about computers, the OS was BASIC. IBM's PC-DOS before the Microsoft aquisition and then MS-DOS was born. Ahh, those were the days...  
  • BASIC wasn't an OS -- that's an intepreted programming language. You mean it included BASIC? Old versions of DOS did indeed include it. No acquisition either. MS licensed DOS to IBM. You could also buy Digital Research's DR-DOS directly, whom IBM had first approached, but they were not quick enough to agree to IBM's licensing terms, so they talked with Bill Gates at Microsoft about his version. The rest is history. :-)
  • Yeah, you're right. When I was in school learning about computers, we learned BASIC programming running on a very early version of what I remember as PC-DOS. Seemed like it was a few years after that that MS DOS came around. I think I still have one of my first computers in the attic -- an 8088 :)
  • Ah yes. I was mainly an Apple II user back then in junior high & highschool (also worked in BASIC, but Applesoft BASIC and old 6502 assembly language for graphics and sound in games I wrote...), but I feel very nostalgic about all those systems. I believe the 8088 was an 8 bit version of the 8086 (as in the x86 we still talk about), desigend as a cheaper version of the 16 bit chip that could appeal to the mass market.
  • How is MS attacking Nokia? MS saved Nokia (and Nokia saved Windows Phone). It's been a totally symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationship. The fact that these legendary partners are merging is not a bad thing, unless they really mis-manage it. That's certainly possible, but MS seems to have a pretty good track record of taking good care of their acquisitions. They've had their share of flops, but MS has done better by their acquirees than most big companies who buy to get access to technology or people. Why not at least give it the benefit of the doubt until you have an actual reason to to say that it's gone bad? If you care about Nokia, it seems that would be the kindest thing you could do for them. Otherwise, you're really just bashing Nokia for choosing to sell their Devices and Services business to MS.
  • That one in the photo isn't Amy right?
  • Well, it's not my favorite company. Nit even close
  • 2:40 There is an Apple Care box in the back-right. WTF?!
  • Haha, I laughed when I saw that red apple logo :P and whats up with the skulls?? lol
  • Anyone else notice a box with an Apple logo behind the Clippy costumes?
  • I'm sexy and I know it!
  • When I was a kid dad had an Apple //e in the house, and it wasn't until a good bit later we got a Windows For Workgroups PC. Program Manager was so keewwwll :)
  • Like the old Intecom phone on the wall @ 1:37.  Evidently Lync VoIP isn't reliable or cost effective enough to replace 20 year old phones quite yet.
  • H
  • Man, I remember my Windows 98 retail box. It was so shiny and fancy and new, I always had it on display.
  • Is that Howard Wolowitz posing on that desk?!?
  • My sister used to work at a place called Iron Mountain.  It's an old limestone mine that was converted into records storage.  The goverment and corporations use it to store important things.  Bill Gates/Microsoft has storage there.  She got to tour his vault once, said it was unbelievable the stuff he had in there.