In 1979, some software company in Bellevue was hiring

Raymond Chen

I’m guessing that my colleague Chad Beeder had some time on his hands, because he discovered that the Seattle Public Library has searchable archives of the Seattle Times going back to 1895. The earliest mention of Microsoft was a classified ad from October 10, 1979:

position, please call 453-4600 for more information. An Equal Opportunity Employer, M/F/H.

COMPUTER System Programer, full time. Position involves design­ing, debugging & maintaining compiler, interpreters & operating systems for micro-processors. Re­quires BS or MS in computer sci­ence plus at least 2 yrs directly re­lated experience. Company paid health insurance. Salary $18,000. Send resume to: Microsoft, 10800 N.E. 8th St, Suite 819, Bellevue, WA, 98004.

CPA, preferably experienced in

Y’know, before hiring a programer, you may want to hire a proofreader.

The downtown Bellevue address used to be the Old National Bank building. (That is, the building for the bank named Old National, not the old building for the National Bank.) It is now known as U.S. Bank Plaza, with retail banking on the ground floor and offices on the upper floors.

Bonus chatter: At the old Bellevue office, you could walk in off the street and buy software from the receptionist. You did have to sign a license agreement in person, though.

Bonus reading: Moving out of the downtown Bellevue office.


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  • Matthew Jackson 0

    I usually see the “programer” typo in video games. It turns out it’s very common in end-game credits. I first noticed it in Zelda 2, and once you’re aware of it you see it everywhere. Still, it’s a bit more curious to see that typo from an American company.

    • Keith Patrick 0

      Better than trying to to word-break on ‘mer”, I guess.

      • M. W. 0

        It wouldn’t have been a problem if they hadn’t capitalized “computer”.

  • Gunnar Dalsnes 0

    “for micro-processors”. Was there other non-micro processors at that time?

    • Jonathan Wilson 0

      At the time there would still have been mainframes and other large computers where the CPU wasn’t a single chip microprocessor but was actually a bunch of chips.

  • Emily Bowman 0

    Obviously, the typo is that they meant “pro gamers”, as Microsoft had a vision to become the first e-sports league in the world. When a bunch of programmers applied, they suddenly pivoted into making OSes instead… /s

  • 紅樓鍮 0

    I wonder how “programer” is supposed to be pronounced. Like /prəˈɡreɪmər/?

  • Neil Rashbrook 0

    Perhaps in trying to simplify English spelling Mr. Webster actually ended up making it more complicated?

  • Landon Messer 0

    Even Microsoft didn’t know about pro-grammar (cue the terrible pun).

  • Alexis Ryan 0

    of course now we need to know who got hired because of that ad, was it anyone of note that would be well known.

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