Twenty years ago this week, Microsoft unveiled its revolutionary new operating system, Windows 95. It was supposed to get millions of consumers on board with the PC revolution and help users discover this new phenomenon called The Internet. But how to get people to pay attention and understand that computers weren’t just big, scary machines that only belonged in science labs? Well, since the sitcom Friends had been on the air for a year and had already become must-see TV for America, who better to hold the country’s hand as we stepped into the brave new world of personal computing than two of the show’s stars: Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry.
Here’s how Wired describes the video:
PCs had made major inroads to consumer markets, but still weren’t seen as necessities. The Internet was still considered strange and dangerous. If Gates wanted to make his vision a reality, it was no longer enough to market Windows solely to deranged office workers. Windows 95 was the answer, and in order to convince people to use it, Microsoft hired Friends stars Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry. Their job? To star in a “cybersitcom” teaching the masses how to use Windows. The instructional video . . . was sold in electronics stores in the 1990s, but we haven’t been able to dig up any information on sales or budget. The plot is simple: Anniston and Perry visit the office of Bill Gates, who never turns up, to audition for a role in the Microsoft Windows 95 Video Guide. Yes, the very video you’re watching
There’s no way you’re going to make it through the entire hour-long video, but scroll about two or three minutes in and travel back to a simpler time, and read more about it here.