Pranksters breathe a sigh of relief: There will never be a Building 7


It is a longstanding prank at Microsoft's main Redmond campus to send an unsuspecting new employee to building 7 under the pretense of having a meeting or needing to pick up something. There is no such building on the main Microsoft campus. This nonexistent building has also been used as a sort of inside joke. For example, if somebody invites you to a meeting in Building 7, they're probably inviting you off campus to take a break from work.

A few years ago, there was a vacancy in a small business park a very short walk from the main Microsoft campus. (You don't even have to cross the street to get there.) I thought it would be great if somebody leased the space and opened a bar called Building 7. It could have a back room decorated like a Microsoft meeting room, complete with WiFi and a large monitor. Then somebody could legitimately invite you to a meeting in Building 7, and people could use it as a cover story: "Sorry, I'm going to be working late tonight. Team meeting in Building 7."

The announcement in February 2006 of a major expansion of the main Redmond campus came with a little map, and people with way too much time on their hands pored over the unreadably tiny print on the map and noticed a little 7 printed on the orange building in the upper right corner. They quietly fretted that a piece of Microsoft history was vanishing and that they'll have to come up with a new prank to play on the new-hires.

In June 2007, pranksters (and people with a nostalgic streak) breathed a sigh of relief. The real estate department announced that the new building tentatively labelled 7 on the map will now be known as Building 37. In deference to Microsoft tradition, the name Building 7 has been officially retired. There will never be a Building 7.

Comments (22)
  1. Neil says:

    So it took over a year to officially name the building?

    Pre-emptive snarky comment: It’s lucky it didn’t take over a year to officially name Windows 95.

  2. shadowwolf says:

    Pre-emptive sarcastic comment:  Building 7 should be drug to the trash can.

  3. - says:

    Campus Acceleration? Is that Microspeak?

  4. Mike says:

    Just like Room 3B at Unseen University for all you Pratchett fans out there…

    Pre-emptive snarky comment #2: see! MS steal all their ideas!!!

  5. stosb says:

    After Microsoft and Yahoo couldn’t agree in negotiations and Yahoo really didn’t want to sell, they offered to /buy Microsoft/ instead today. Part of the deal will be new branding: Live is to be renamed "Livr" and ".Net" will be ".Noo!". The new slogan will be "Where do you Yahoo! today?".

    More news at 6.

  6. dgt says:

    the map is well outdated. building 100 is no more

  7. CN says:

    Backward compatibility of unassigned IDs is an important matter that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

  8. Hamilton Lovecraft says:

    The Apple R&D campus had a similar thing, with six buildings referred to as "R&D 1" through "R&D 6", with the lounge/bar/restaurant Peppermill on the same block being known as "R&D 7". Peppermill has been replaced with something else now, not sure if it’s still "R&D 7".

  9. AJ says:

    New prank:  Building 8

    There, now that wasn’t hard, was it?

  10. fersis says:

    Pre-emptive Igor Levicki comment:

    "There should never be a building 7 ;since 7 is the number of good luck,and Windows only is lucky on crashing"

    Cheers raymond , i really like your blog and writing,

    I hope i can find your book on my country (i had no credit card so i cant buy it from the ‘internetz’

  11. FakeIgorLevicki says:

    Well Windows 7 is a prank too.

  12. John says:

    Strange.  I would have figured the proper terminology would have been something along the lines of "Building 7" being "reserved for future use".

  13. steveg says:

    Designed by VB architects? The buildings are 1-based, not 0-based.

  14. Jolyon Smith says:

    I so would love to believe this little story, but can’t help but notice the date on which it was posted…..

    ;)

  15. Chris says:

    I can vouch for the accuracy of the Apple/Peppermill comment, but not Raymond’s post. :)

    When the Peppermill died, the R&D 7 tag simply went away. Whatever replaced it was so non-descript that I don’t recall what it was (some kind of buffet for old people?), and it’s probably been replaced by something else now.

  16. db says:

    There *is* a building 8 already though.

  17. Someone posted a cell phone video of the supposed building here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu_moia-oVI

  18. GreaseMonkey says:

    /me punches SeaSideJohnny for never going to give that meme up.

  19. Dataland says:

    Also today, a posting on Raymond Chen’s blog discussed another awfully peculiar connection: “A few years ago, there was a vacancy in a small business park a very short walk from the main Microsoft campus…”. Raymond goes on to discuss “Building 7”, which he describes as “This nonexistent building…” Now, I do trust Raymond, and he’s been with Microsoft since, well I don’t know when. But… come on, really? Steve is going to work for Google, from a building that’s basically onsite the Microsoft campus?  It may sound outlandish, but… Pingback: http://dataland.wordpress.com/2008/04/01/steve-ballmer-defects-to-google/

  20. Zvi says:

    So you’re saying that the Microsoft campus must remain backwardly compatible with this traditional prank?

    * dodges thrown tomato *

  21. dcr says:

    People who used to work in Bellevue Place will remember Conference Room D (aka: Daniel’s Broiler lounge, which was just a few floors up).

  22. David Walker says:

    John: "Building 7" being "reserved for future use".  Ha!  That’s great.

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