A geek's visit to Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington will not be complete without dropping by the company store to get Microsoft-branded apparels and the visitor center to sample different products and innovations that are showcased there. Both of these are now located in building 92 and it is accessible to visitors by booking a shuttle from any of the building's front desk or via phone.
The Microsoft Company Store, located on the ground floor of building 92, is famous among geeks and tech-savvies because this is where one can buy quality jackets, shirts, caps, notebooks, mugs, bags, books, toys, etc. that are co-branded with Microsoft.
I'M A PC items for sale
There's also a separate area behind that is accessible only to employees and special guests (visitors have to badge-in). That is where the deeply-discounted software and hardware products of Microsoft are kept. Purchase of items from here is limited and is only given as a benefit to full-time employees or special guests.
Just across the company store is the Microsoft Visitor Center where one can see, hear and feel the rich culture, history and forward vision of the company. Here are some of the pictures I took inside:
Microsoft Surface booth where a coffee table computer is showcased
me in front of a projected rotating globe
Zune music player lounge
XBOX playing lounge
computers for trial and interaction
There are also areas that showcases products and innovations that are still under development:
Another interesting kiosk is where will pose for a picture and mix words to his liking.
A few minutes later, the picture and the words will be part of a collage and the relationship between these are interconnected and analyzed.
At the end of the hall is Microsoft Library, which is open only for employees (badge will be required to get in). The library is accessible globally via an internal website but I still feel good physically coming in here and checking out the vast collection available for reading and reference. Most of these books, including Microsoft Press books, are not available in the Philippines.
There you go! For an employee of the company or even for someone visiting the area, these are just some of those things on top of my mind that you should try make time for and drop by. By the way, these are only open during business hours and it's still best to inquire on their opening and closing times before dropping by so you wouldn't be disappointed.