If you have to pick three companies that take up most of your mindspace, I am sure you would plonk for The Big Three – Apple, Microsoft, and Google.
No three companies can be more different, but they affect our lives in the same way.
Microsoft, the oldest of the three, has the iron grip on desktop computing. Apple, next born, is about personal style thanks to iconic products like the Mac and the iPod. Google, the youngest, but arguably the most vivacious of the lot, has a finger in any pie that has to do with the internet (and beyond).
But how well do we know these three that are with us 24×7?
Every great company has a story behind its legend. Strange and interesting facts and anecdotes about behemoths such as these demonstrate that it’s not always about bits, bytes, multi-billion dollar revenues and lawsuits.
Interesting Facts About Google
“We came up with the notion that not all web pages are created equal. People are – but not web pages.” – Sergey Brin
- 1. The well known “˜Don’t be evil’ is actually an informal motto of Google. It is a reference to their corporate philosophy which says that you can make money without being evil. It was coined by Paul Buchheit, the man behind Gmail.
- 2. Sergey Brin and Larry Page didn’t know too much about HTML. That’s why the first homepage had a very bare bones design. The simple design caused people to just sit there looking at the screen during initial tests. Test users were actually waiting for the “rest of the page to load”. To solve that particular problem the Google Copyright message was added as a line as an end of page marker.
- 3. Just so you know: “˜to google’ became a verb in 2006 when both Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary as well as the Oxford English Dictionary recognized it. It of course means – to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the Internet.
- 4. Users can search for content in 35 non-English languages, including Chinese, Greek, Icelandic, Hebrew, Hungarian and Estonian. To date, no requests have been received from beyond the earth’s orbit, but Google has a Klingon interface if they decide to make contact one day.
- 5. When Larry Page and Sergey Brin assembled their first server to test the PageRank code, they housed ten 4 Gigabyte HDD in a cabinet made of Lego bricks.
- 6. Google’s core search engine ranking system is called PageRank. Each page is assigned a rank that determines its ranking in the search engine results. But the term is not taken from its function; it’s actually named after Google co-founder Larry Page. In the early days it was called BackRub [Broken URL Removed].
- 7. How much energy does a single Google Search take up? Google says it’s about 1KJ (Kilo Joules). In green terms, it’s approximately equal to .2g of CO2 emitted per search. See it compared against everyday activities.
Interesting Facts About Microsoft
“If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.” ““ Bill Gates
- 8. The first Operation System Microsoft coded was Xenix, which was a version of UNIX under a different name. But it was MS-DOS made for IBM PCs that gave it a foothold in the software market.
- 9. Bill Gates wrote a class scheduling program for his school. He tweaked the program’s code so that he was placed in classes with mostly female students.
- 10. Microsoft fashioned the use of code names for under-development software and systems. For instance, Windows 7 was “˜Vienna’. Wikipedia has a complete list.
- 11. Did you know that you can’t create a folder named “˜con’ in Windows?
- 12. The first Windows virus was called Winver 1.4.
- 13. The name of its search engine “˜Bing’ has its origins in Bingo. Just like the game, it was meant to suggest that something looked for has been found or realized. “˜Bang’ was also proposed because it was memorable, short, and easy to spell. Finally, Bing was chosen for the same reasons.
- 14. Ironically, Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit is one of the largest developers of Macintosh software outside of Apple Inc. Also, Microsoft Office for Mac was introduced for Macintosh in 1989, a year before Office was released for Windows.
Interesting Facts About Apple
“We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.” ““ Steve Jobs (on Mac OS X’s Aqua user interface)
- 15. Fortune magazine named Apple as the most admired company in the United States in 2008; and in the world in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
- 16. The original Apple logo had Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree. It was replaced by the one we are more familiar with. To differentiate the silhouette of the apple from a cherry, the “˜bite’ was put in.
- 17. “˜Macintosh’ is in fact a variety of apple. It also was the first commercially successful personal computer that resembles the ones we use today. It was the first ones to have a graphical user interfaces (GUI) and mouse instead of command line interfaces.
- 18. Apple also made one of the first consumer digital cameras. The Apple QuickTake, launched in 1994 was discontinued in 1997. The camera could shoot and store eight photos at 640×480 resolution, 32 photos at 320×240 resolutions, or a mixture of both sizes.
- 19. Apple had a third founder besides Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Ronald Wayne had a 10% stake in the company. He forfeited his share to the new company for a total of $2,300. All three partners worked at Atari before they started Apple. Ronald Wayne drew the first Apple logo, wrote the three men’s original partnership agreement and wrote the Apple I manual. He has never owned an Apple product.
- 20. The flag bearer for Apple Inc, the Macintosh, wasn’t the brainchild of the two Steve’s. Jef Raskin an expert in human-computer interaction started and inspired the Apple Macintosh line. He also coined the name.
There are enough strange interesting facts to fill up entire bookshelves on these three companies. Tell us the ones you know.