Contoso also known as Contoso Ltd. and Contoso University is a fictional company used by Microsoft as an example company and domain.
Contoso and its website, contoso.com, are used in documentation and help files for many Microsoft products. Contoso's website redirects to
microsoft.com. Examples of its usage include:
- A February 26, 2010 Microsoft whitepaper examined "the potential outcomes of a pilot implementation of Google Apps from the vantage point of a hypothetical company" called Contoso Ltd.
- It is used as an example app in the Windows Phone documentation for Flip Tiles, Iconic Tiles and Cycle Tiles.
- It is used in Microsoft Dynamics AX for demo purpose and training.
- It was used as a demo app in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
- Contoso.com is used as a demo domain in Microsoft Exchange training material
- "Contoso Toolbar", a fictional toolbar, is used to demonstrate the Add-on Performance Advisor in Internet Explorer 9.
- Contoso.com is used as an example domain in Microsoft Exams 70-511, 70-515, 70-640, 70-680 and 70-685
- Contoso.net is used as an example domain in the account configuration wizard from Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Outlook 2007, Microsoft Outlook 2010 and Microsoft Outlook 2013, while Contoso.com is used as an example in the help file.
- Contoso Bank's website is used as a demo site for SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer, which consists of a demo online banking site.
- Contoso Pharmaceuticals is also sometimes used
- 'Contoso Hotel & Casino' is used for Microsoft Sharepoint Demo Build examples
- 'Contoso Hotel' is widely used in Microsoft Office and WebMatrix Examples and Tutorials
- contoso.com is used as an example domain in Windows Workspaces Center
- A "Contoso University" website is used for demonstrating ASP.NET MVC capabilities in the Getting Started with EF using MVC tutorial, through ASP.NET MVC and the ADO.NET Entity Framework.
- Contoso is used as an example company in many MSDN Blogs blog posts
- corp.contoso.com is used as an example FQDN in the "Active Directory Domain Services Installation Wizard" in Windows Server 2008
- Contoso is used in IIS 7.0 as an example for site bindings in the Edit Site Binding dialog box
- Contoso is used in SharePoint 2013 as an example for bindings in the Web Apps
- Contoso is used as a news agency delivering a collection of news articles, blog posts, white papers, case studies, videos and comments on fictional news in a demo News app in Windows 8.
- Contoso is used as training program (Contoso v2.0) in Windows 8 Speech recognition
- Contoso is used for all tests in both Sandbox and production for the company SF.
- The Windows 7 Help article 'Automatically get recommended drivers and updates for your hardware' includes an image of a Devices and Printers screen showing 'Contoso 4GB Flash Drive' and 'Contoso Touchkey 300' as installed devices.
- The Contoso Marketing department is used to demonstrate Active Directory Group Synchronization in the Microsoft Project Server 2010 Administrators Guide.
- The installation for Forefront Identity Manager 2010 uses Contoso.com as a reference for all example URL's.
- Ellen Adams is listed as an example of a Contoso employee in the "Auto Account Setup Wizard" in Outlook 2007, 2010, and 2013.
- Lisa Andrews is an example used in a short Microsoft Office OneNote 2013 tutorial video titled "OneNote: Search notes instantly"
- Allen Brewer is listed as an accountant in the Windows XP Book "Exam 70-270: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional".
- Percy Bowman is listed as the janitor in the Windows XP Book "Exam 70-270: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional".
- Jay Calvin is listed as Owner in the Windows XP Book "Exam 70-270: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional".
- Austin Ehrhardt is listed as CEO in the Windows XP Book "Exam 70-270: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional".
- William Fox is listed as fired for having used personal devices in a working environment in the Windows XP Book "Exam 70-270: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional".
- Misty Shock and Chris Meyer are listed as example users in a TechNet article.
- Walter Harp, Jeff Smith, and Ben Smith are listed as examples in an article from Windows Azure.
- Barbara Sankovic (firstname.lastname@example.org) is used as an example when adding a 'New E-mail Account' using Microsoft Outlook 2007.
- Miranda, the owner of Contoso, is used as an example for setting up Bing Product Ads
- Frank is used as a user when adding validation rules to a Microsoft Access data entry box. 
- Burton Guido is used as an example account in an MSDN tutorial on working with multiple user accounts in Visual Studio 2015 Preview using Azure Active Directory. 
In popular culture
On April 1, 2011, an April Fool's Day joke from Google Enterprise said that Contoso abandoned many of Microsoft's technologies in favor of Google Apps. The joke was a response to the 2010 whitepaper listed above. In response to this joke, the Why Microsoft Blog responded saying that Contoso was lured from Google by promises of "proven cost savings".
- "Look Before You Leap into Google Apps" (PDF). Microsoft Download Center. Microsoft Corporation. February 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- "Project Server 2010 Administrator's Guide". Microsoft TechNet. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
- "OneNote: Search notes instantly". Microsoft Office. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- "Exchange Advanced Settings for Mailbox-Enabled Recipients". Microsoft TechNet. 9 July 2007. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- "How to use the Table Storage Service". Windows Azure. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- "Contoso has gone Google". Official Google enterprise Blog. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- "Contoso Fooled By Google, Returns to Microsoft". Tony Tai. 30 March 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2013.