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February 1, 2014

How Microsoft celebrates the Seahawks

What happens when the world’s biggest software company meets the world’s most famous football game?

On Friday afternoon, folks in Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group—which includes Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, and more—gathered for a massive pep rally to cheer on the Seattle Seahawks, who battle the Denver Broncos tomorrow in the NFL’s highly-anticipated championship game. Many pundits say the matchup is too close to call.

Of course, this being Microsoft, it wasn’t just any old low-tech pep rally. Three radio-controlled quadcopters buzzed through the sky capturing photos and video of the growing crowd, which some observers pegged at nearly 7,000 people. Strategically-placed Lumia 1020 Windows Phones, meanwhile, shot still photos from a nearby rooftop.

In case you’re scratching your head about that crowd-formed “12” (I realize not all blog readers are familiar with American football)—it’s shorthand for “12th man” and the legion of Seahawks fans. Drive around Seattle these days and you’d encounter a sea of 12s, on flags and banners hanging from the top of the Space Needle on down. And when your company’s headquarters is just outside town and its co-founder happens to own the team—well, you can imagine that emotions on Friday were running a little bit high.

Who are you rooting for in this weekend’s big game?


Microsoft employees—one estimate put the number at nearly 7,000—gather on a campus soccer field (above) to cheer on the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, who are vying to become league champions this weekend. Shot with a Nokia Lumia 1020.


A view from a remote-controlled quadcopter (above).  This part of campus, known as The Commons, is home to Xbox, Windows Phone, and other product groups—not to mention a mini-mall with shops and restaurants. This time-lapse video (below) shows how the whole thing came together.