“Because a little trip down memory lane can be good for the soul, and because after well over a year of remote and hybrid work we could all use some excitement on video calls,” the company explained. “We asked our designers to give a few memorable Microsoft moments their debut as Teams backgrounds.
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Microsoft Teams backgrounds
Virtual backgrounds have become a popular tool during the pandemic, providing remote workers with a way to obscure their disorderly offices and giving users a fun feature to mess with on personal video calls.
Throughout the year, Microsoft has periodically released new background bundles, either in line with the seasons or cultural events such as Pride month. The new Nostalgia bundle isn’t tied to a particular event; Microsoft says it’s just designed to deliver a much-needed hit of nostalgia.
Each of the new Teams backgrounds is tied to a famous product in the Microsoft catalogue, from Microsoft 365 to Windows.
Clippy, for example, made its debut as virtual assistant in Office 97. It spent the next few years harassing Microsoft Office users, albeit politely, before facing the chop in 2001.
“Whether you love or loathe Clippy, it’s hard to not smile - just admit it - when you see it pop up in a meme somewhere,” wrote Microsoft. “You may think Clippy was too persistent, too eager, perhaps even too polite. We like to think that Clippy, the true OG virtual assistant, was just a bit ahead of its time.”
The new background bundle also pays homage to iconic Windows applications Solitaire and Paint, both of which came pre-installed with the operating system for years. The former was inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame in 2019 and continues to attract millions of players, while the latter has remained a favorite among scribblers since the first ever Windows release, in 1985.
Finally, Microsoft gave a nod to the immensely popular Windows XP, re-releasing the iconic meadow wallpaper for use in Teams. The original image was almost totally unedited, but Microsoft has given the new version a few touch-ups to create “a new take on the lush landscape”.
The new Microsoft Teams backgrounds, along with hundreds of existing ones, can be downloaded via the Microsoft website.
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Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.