The history of computing, as told by the hallways of Microsoft Building 41

Raymond Chen

Microsoft Employees Are Hooked on the Company’s Training Videos (WSJ paywall). But really, what I want to call attention to is the video that plays even if you don’t have a subscription: I can tell that the scene was filmed on the fourth floor of Building 41.

Each of the six floors of Building 41 is themed after a stage in the development of computing.

First floor: Abacus (ca. 2700 BCE).

Second floor: Jacquard loom card (1804).

Third floor: Hollerith punch card (1890).

Fourth floor: Circuit board (1960).

Fifth floor: Social media and hashtags (2009).

Sixth floor: Cloud computing racks (2018).

4 comments

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  • DCH3416 1

    Is anything encoded into the punch card wall?

    • Georg Rottensteiner 0

      “Ken sent me”

    • word merchant 1

      Abort, Retry, Ignore.

  • aidtopia 1

    The social media floor doesn’t seem to fit the progression. Networking was the next big technological advancement in computing. (Once again Microsoft misses the boat on the internet!) Sure, social media is enabled by networking, but it’s not really representative of it. I’m cool with cloud computing. When they add a seventh floor, I wonder whether it’ll be quantum computing or AI. Then again, if the AI wins, there probably won’t be enough people left to justify the six floors already there. 😉

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