Get your Contoso-branded merchandise while you can


Long-time observers are familiar with Contoso, the fake company name used in Microsoft samples and demonstrations. The Windows Phone folks have started running with the joke and creating their own line of Contoso-branded merchandise. (Of course, if you get the Contoso mug, you should fill it with Fourth Coffee.)

Comments (15)
  1. Michael Hoffman says:

    When will I be able to get a LitWare T-shirt?

  2. Chris Long says:

    The Contoso logo looks remarkably similar to the old British Leyland logo:

    en.wikipedia.org/…/British_Leyland

    That's probably not an association that you'd want to make… but then, maybe the number of people who would recognise the similarity is quite small these days…

  3. alegr1 says:

    Could not you lose a trademark if you don't use it? Isn't it why the merchandise was made?

  4. I dumped all my Contoso stock and bought Fabrikam.

  5. Programmerman says:

    I look forward to sipping coffee from the Contoso mug and seeing who understands it.

  6. JM says:

    Contoso reminds me of Aperture Science. We should invent a mad CEO for it, and a completely implausible backstory.

    Or, more appropriately, a dull as dishwater CEO and a backstory that makes it completely indistinguishable from any generic enterprisey software company that "empowers growth".

  7. Flash says:

    So what will Microsoft do when someone starts creating counterfeit mugs/teeshirts/books for Contoso/Fabricam/litware?

    Love to see legal get their heads around that one or do the above exist as MS copyrights even though the companies don't exist?

    No I don't expect Raymond to comment, he's not legal and nor am I!

  8. Kieran says:

    " Or, more appropriately, a dull as dishwater CEO and a backstory that makes it completely indistinguishable from any generic enterprisey software company that "empowers growth". "

    Yes, with bonus points if someone can use all the Microspeak terms mentioned by Raymond over the years. :)

    " No I don't expect Raymond to comment, he's not legal and nor am I! "

    I thought Raymond came of age long time back… ;)

  9. Porter says:

    This just in: Our friendly neighborhood aliens are considering a class-action lawsuit against Contoso for species discrimination, since the company has no t-shirts on offer for inorganic men/women.

  10. Matt says:

    @Flash:

    Follow the first link to see your answer:

    "Where did these fake names come from?

    The Trademark Group in Microsoft's legal department.

    The Trademark Group performed background checks on these names and cleared them for use as fictitious entities by Microsoft samples and documentation. The web sites for all of these "companies" redirect to the main Microsoft home page. Having a pool of "standard fake names" means that Microsoft samples and documentation don't run into the problem of a fake URL turning into a porn site.

    "

  11. Christian says:

    Do you think it would be okay for my company to use contonso inside the manual for our product or for sample data visible inside screenshots in our brochures?

  12. Matt says:

    @Christian:

    Your company should use their own brand/logo in your manual. Relying on a third-party like Microsoft not only puts you in breach of a Microsoft trademark, but puts your company at the mercy of Microsoft managing to keep its house in order. Instead, either get your company to register their own trademarks, use your own company name, or use a name like http://www.example.com or http://www.example.org, which ara IANA reserved addresses for the purposes of putting example URLs into documents.

  13. Scott Brickey says:

    When might we also expect to see Tail Spin Toys merchandise?

  14. Horst Kiehl says:

    @Scott: You mean besides some Tail Spin Toys themselves?

  15. db2 says:

    Maybe I should put together some Northwind gear. (With art assets taken directly from Access 95. Yes, I have a working installation of Access 95; doesn't everybody?)

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