Alternate Reality   •   Favorites

Oldest Living Microsoft Fanboy Tells All

When Microsoft gets criticized unfairly on the Net, people like Hyrum Winsocki leap to its defense. eSarcasm gets up close and personal with the original MSFT Fanboy.

By (@tynanwrites)

August 2, 2009

The story you're about to read is not (entirely) true. It is, however, more accurate than most things on network television.

Oldest Living Microsoft FanboyThe biggest software company in the world boasts both fierce critics and staunch defenders. Hyrum Winsocki is proud to count himself among the latter. The porcine 68-year-old Winsocki calls himself the “original Microsoft fanboy,” and it’s a title he richly deserves.

eSarcasm met with Winsocki in the basement of his mother’s home, where he has lived his entire life, with the exception of six months when he enrolled at Somogyi Vocational College and Barber School, graduating in 1972 with an associates degree in computer cosmetology.

(His mother, Sylvia, 97, declined to be interviewed for this article. Winsocki says the pair haven’t spoken since she installed Ubuntu Feisty Ferret on the rebuilt Packard Bell 486 he gave her for her 95th birthday.)

“My first operating system was Xenix, if that tells you anything,” says Winsocki, who keeps an extensive database of all the Microsoft products he has owned in a copy of Access 1.1. “I was there from the very beginning, back when Bill and Paul were running things. Before they moved to Seattle and got involved with that Starbucks Nirvana crowd. Those were the golden days.”

His office is a virtual warehouse of Microsoft memorabilia: A Compaq CRT with a permanent BSOD burned into the screen; a drawer full of Timex Data Link watches and Microsoft joysticks; a framed screenshot of the Microsoft Bob interface.

Winsocki gets visibly agitated when he talks about it.

bobhome1p“Microsoft Bob was decades ahead of his time,” he fumes, rebooting his KayPro 286 for the third time in 15 minutes. “It was deeply under appreciated. Years from now, all computer interfaces will owe a huge debt to MS Bob.”

Though technically retired, Winsocki maintains an exhaustive schedule. Each day he arises at 3 am and scans the Internet for bloggers and journalists saying critical things about Microsoft. He then weighs in using a variety of screen names to mask his identity. Some days he stays up until nearly midnight defending his beloved company against unwarranted attacks.

Winsocki estimates there are only about two dozen other Microsoft fanboys like him on the Net, but because they all use multiple screen names, it seems like several thousand.

The most common criticism he must rebut?

“People claim that Microsoft never invented anything, that they stole the best ideas from their competitors and used strong-arm tactics to force hardware manufacturers to carry their products despite being technically inferior,” he seethes. “What a load of bullcocky. To people who say Microsoft is not an innovator, I just have three words: Right Mouse Button.”

He leans back in his chair with a satisfied grin. “I rest my case.”

When asked how long he’ll keep going, trying to ensure the multibillion-dollar company receives the respect he feels it deserves, he just shakes his head.

“As long as it takes,” he sighs. “Microsoft is the Rodney Dangerfield of software companies, only without the buggy eyes and the perspiration. If people like me aren’t watching their backs, who will?”

Get fresh geek humor delivered daily: RSS | E-Mail | Twitter