Microsoft’s 2023 ugly sweater features Windows XP’s iconic wallpaper


Softwear: Microsoft has unveiled its retro-themed ugly sweater design for 2023. This time around, Redmond is taking us all the way back to the early 2000s and the release of its Windows XP operating system.

Before smartphones ruled the roost, PCs were the go-to device for connecting to the Internet and getting work done. Microsoft dominated the scene with its Windows operating system and in the early 2000s, Windows XP was the top dog.

Microsoft shipped the OS with a serene image of a green hill beneath a picturesque blue sky with white clouds as the default wallpaper. The photo was captured in Sonoma County, California by National Geographic photographer Charles O’Rear in 1996, then sold as a stock photo to image licensing agency Corbis.

Microsoft bought the image in 2000 and started shipping it with Windows XP a year later. Given the operating system’s popularity and longevity, it is believed to be one of the most viewed photographs ever taken.

The iconic image, dubbed Bliss, is featured on this year’s ugly sweater. If you want one, you’ll need to act fast as they are being produced in limited quantities. Indeed, a quick check of the Xbox Gear Shop reveals that most sizes have already sold out. As of this writing, only XL and 2XL are left.

Pricing is set at $69.99 and orders are expected to be delivered between December 1 and December 5, leaving plenty of time for holiday parties and the like. This year’s sale benefits The Nature Conservatory, an organization that help preserve the land and water we all rely on.

Microsoft has offered an ugly holiday sweater since 2018 on a mostly annual basis, and we have seen some great designs over the years. My personal favorite is the Clippy sweater from 2022 followed by the MS Paint version in 2020.

Even if you don’t plan to wear it, the sweater might make a decent investment. Over on eBay, earlier offerings are commanding hundreds of dollars.


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