April 2021

I’ve been carrying the secret for 25 years. Today, I’m coming clean. This is the untold true story of a corporate April Fools’ prank gone wrong.

— an (unnamed, probably ex-) Microsoft employee shares funny details of “Microsoft Coffee”, an April Fools prank that went well, perhaps too well, 25 years ago. After VW’s “Voltswagen” mess this week, many are calling for an end to April Fools gags. I’m minded to agree — but let’s be narrower: let’s bring an end to April Fools gags backed by the company’s dull PR teams. Maverick employees working in secret? I’m all for it. Discussion about Microsoft Coffee on Hacker News has people wondering whether this is in itself an April Fools gag, given there’s no other mentions of Microsoft Coffee anywhere. I dunno. Seems real to me, this line in particular: “The PR flacks, on their own, tried to clean up and bury the whole thing, out of fear that BillG might get really angry about it. (He never did. Nor did Legal. In the end, it was all a huge overreaction by PR.)” …. emphasis mine.