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Thursday, September 8 12:00 AM ET

Microsoft Releases Box Set of Rarities and Oldies

By Nikolaj Borg

Redmond, WA - Microsoft has announced the release of a box set of their "greatest operating systems of all time," stuffed with their previous releases and tons of extras. The box set - entitled "Microsoft 1975 - 2000: The Early Years" covers the company's rise from the early garage days to today.

Fans of the company should find everything they need in the box. Not only does it contain classics like DOS 3.30, Windows 3.11 and 95 OSR2.5 – it also contains rare cult material like Microsoft Bob, Windows 1.0 and ME. Die hard fans may complain about the decision to include the updated and patched versions instead of the original releases, but they are likely to have the entire collection, anyway.

Renee Rickman of Microsoft's Classics division said, "Even with the original releases, the collectors will still want this great box. First, they'll find an entire DVD of fan site material: marketing material, press footage and tons of pictures and background info. We dug deep into the vault and found hundreds of early betas, unfortunate patches and other bloopers."

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Some may see a compilation such as this as a swan song of a once-great and innovative company, but this is not the plan. According to Rickman, the compilation, in the works since 2000, "...should be seen as a milestone, a summing-up of what we've done so far, so fans and users may understand where we're headed in the future."

Besides the classic software, the first 500 customers will get a free polystone bust of Clippy, the beloved assistant, so hurry down to your local software store. Be wary of the early editions of the box set, though, as they contain a series of production flaws.

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