Microsoft Turns 40: 14 Amazing Facts We Bet You Didn't Know About Microsoft

The world's most successful, and many would add innovative, software company turned the big 40 Saturday and its co-founder and former CEO took some time to write employees a pensive, inspirational note in honor of the event.

As Tech Times reported Gates, in his birthday message, urges employees to stay focused on the mission to get technology into everyone's hands.

"What matters most is what we do next," he wrote in the six-paragraph letter to Microsoft's 125,000 employees.

The birthday message, as noted in the letter, is all about looking and moving forward.

As with any 40th birthday celebration, it's also a perfect time to look back and see what's gone on in the first four decades of the company's life.

Here are 14 facts you might not know about Microsoft, even if you've been around before Gates and company got that twinkle about an OS in their eye.

  1. It's spelled Microsoft but way, way back, when co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen were forming what would become the world's most well known OS and software company, the name was Micro-Soft.
  2. When employees celebrate a work anniversary they bring in a pound of M&Ms for each year they've been employed.
  3. Well before Google's job interview process became big (and a bit hotly dissected), Microsoft was famous for asking job candidates this question: why are manhole covers round? Or at least that's the rumor.
  4. The man behind the famous Microsoft 'sound' is Brian Eno. Yes, Brian Eno who worked with David Bowie and U2.
  5. Tech companies are known for campus perks, from snooze pads to ping pong tables. Microsoft's free drink perk totals about 23 million beverages a year.
  6. The first office space for the company was in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  7. Microsoft staffers' favorite free drinks are OJ and milk.
  8. Bill Gates became an official billionaire at 31 years old.
  9. Microsoft owns more than 10,000 patents
  10. The software giant has more than 850 researchers working in 55 areas.
  11. The top Microsoft food on campus is pizza.
  12. Product codenames, at least for a awhile, seemed to have a Midwest, geographic bent with names such as Lone Star, Vienna and Longhorn on the list. Well okay Vienna isn't in the Midwest.
  13. Those who work at Microsoft, at least those who have been there for many years, view themselves as 'softies.'
  14. Microsoft's acquisition of Skype, for $8.5 billion, is its biggest to date.
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