In a few days Microsoft will blow out 47 candles: it was in fact April 4, 1975 when Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded what would become a technology giant based on global successes such as Windows, the Office suite and even the iconic Xbox range. To these hits of incredible size they also counterbalance many other projects that have been abandoned over the years. Some never really took off, while others had a longer and sometimes successful run before being swept away by events.
There, someone has thought of listing them all in a free and open source site which is called, consistently, Killed by Microsoft. The goal, according to the authors, is to be a source of concrete information on the history surrounding Microsoft’s abandoned projects, and in fact every product – whether it is an app, a service or a device – is also accompanied by a short biography that recalls the date of birth, “death” and purposes.
For those who have experienced the evolution of Microsoft it is a real Amarcord from which long forgotten names emergewhich by now no one pronounces anymore: to say, you remember Encarta? Digital multimedia encyclopedia born in 1993, at first it was sold on CD-ROM or DVD, at some point even as an attachment to some newspaper, then it became available only via the internet via subscription, before becoming free with some advertisements and finally closing the doors in 2009 after 13 years of honorable career.
A journey through time that gives us well-known projects like the smartphone sector of the company, which culminated in the latest attempt entrusted to Windows Phone, but also the Zune music player, or Silverlight, the antagonist of Adobe Flash which was closed in 2021. There is also EdgeHTML, successor to the Internet Explorer after passing on a Chromium base, but also a mysterious line of smart bands and a map program Streets & Tips remained confined to North America.
If you want to venture into the cemetery of Microsoft projects, about seventy, the link to the site is in Source. Clippy is also waiting for youthe animated paperclip you may have squabbled with in your formative years in Office, which has now abandoned the role of assistant to return to Windows in the form of an emoji supported by loads of likes.