Earlier this week, Apple announced it would be changing its gun emoji from a pistol to a squirt gun. (Now, if you want to threaten your friends or nieghbors via text you get to do so with a lime green fake firearm.) Not to be outdone, this week Microsoft also announced it was modifying its gun emoji. Except Microsoft took the reverse approach, turning a space blaster into a revolver.
The world of emoji is run by the Unicode Consortium, which is responsible for deciding, broadly, which people, places, and things get turned into emoji. But from there, individual platforms (like Apple or Microsoft) can modify how those items look for their users. Hence sending a gun emoji to an iPhone user is a playful invitation to get wet, while somebody running a phone on Outlook gets a message that is just slightly more menacing.
“They needed to feel more human, more personal, more expressive,” the company, which has been working on overhauling all of its emoji for several months, announced on its blog. Because what feels more expressive than a tiny pictograph of, you know, a gun.