Microsoft employees spent eight weeks singing their own praises

Around 150 Microsoft employees and interns got together to create a musical that will surely incite different emotions in different people. Well, at least there's a joke about Windows Phone.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer on

They think they're so great.

Screenshot by ZDNet

For a long time, Microsoft wasn't known for its teamwork.

Within Redmond, ruthlessly undercutting your fellow workers was a dance enjoyed by so many on their way to the top. Or, at least to the upper middle.

Management looked on and adored it, as the Hungeredmond Games took place every day.

When the revisionists get hold of history, they can paint an entirely different picture of what went before.

This is why I've been rendered temporarily insensate by a musical oeuvre -- no, a grand opus -- created by 150 Microsoft employees and interns.

They call it Microsoft the Musical, which is something that's been tried before and descended into the orchestra pit with an unholy splat.

Surely you remember the launch ad for the Surface, in which hordes of young people danced away, clutching their devices as if they were mere props for a school production of Jesus Christ, Superstar Developer.

Yet here we are again. And at some length.

More than seven minutes of singing, dancing, prancing, and more singing.

Though I admired many of the moves -- I've rarely seen such a commitment to fluidity in tech -- I found myself enveloped by the songbook.

Sample: "There once was a lad, whose eyesight was bad, but his vision was crystal clear."

Yes, these words really were written about Bill Gates. And they weren't alone in their singular echo.

How about: "Our buddy, Bill, he had a dream that long ago did seem obscene."

Yes, you want the next line to be: "And now our buddy's obscenely wealthy." It wasn't.

But this lyricism is just the beginning. The performers croon that working at Microsoft is "so much more than just a dream."

Does that mean it's sometimes a nightmare?

They sing about how "Windows was the bet on which this company was made, and everything else followed from the dividends it paid." Just as one performer makes a money-distribution gesture of which Johnny Manziel would be proud.

Extremely high meta-symoblism, that.

At this point, you're already believing our buddy Bill must be the nicest, most exciting gambler you've ever encountered. As opposed to, say, an utterly ruthless automaton who forced businesses to use software that wasn't always exactly efficient. Or even workable.

But that's the thing about musicals based on a true story. They're there to make the story more enjoyable than the truth.

In many ways, then, this Microsoftian work succeeds admirably. The effort and commitment of the performers are exemplary. Some are really competent dancers, certainly more competent than former CEO Steve Ballmer.

The whole thing took eight weeks to put together, and even includes jokes about Vista and Windows Phone. (But not about Windows 10 or the EU.)

And you get the feeling that everyone is just so very brilliant. Well, almost everyone.

One woman asks a barista for a latte "and an extra shot of whatever ingredient it is that makes people here so successful."

Ah, well, now that's a story for a whole other musical.

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