Microsoft is one of the largest, most successful companies in the world, but just like every other company, they had to start somewhere.
Back in 1975, Bill Gates, a nineteen year old kid at the time, and his twenty two year old business partner Paul Allen made the first mark in Microsoft history by selling the program called “BASIC” to a small computer company in Albuquerque, New Mexico. By the year 1975 had passed, Microsoft had made $16,005 from their little computer operating system called BASIC.
When Gates and Allen communicated to each other, Gates referred to their partnership as “Micro-soft”, which is where the company’s name was derived from. Though it wasn’t until a year later, that the name was permanent. At this same time, Microsoft hired their first full-time employee Marc McDonald in hopes of rising the issue of software piracy. Bill Gates was the first software programmer to make an effort to banish illegal copies of software. Gate’s anti-piracy hitch made a difference, but even to this day, there is still software pirating going on.
After only one year of programming, Microsoft began to get a lot of attention. Their first advertisement appeared in the magazine Digital Design. Paul Allen resigned from his schooling at MIT to put his full attention to the projects that were going on at Microsoft. Soon, Microsoft became a trademark that was registered on November 26, 1976.
Several years later, Microsoft transformed their $16,005 they were making a year, into an incredible $345,890,000 a year. Achieving this size of profit was helped by the software that they had been distributing including: PageView, Quick C 1.0, Microsoft C Optimizing Compiler, Quick Basic 4.0, XENIX System V/286 2.23, Word 4.0 for DOS, Word 3.0 for XENIX, Macro Assembler 5.0, Chart 3.0, Project 4.0, Word 3.01 for the Mac, OS/2 Software Development Kit, MS-DOS Manager 1.0, BASIC and PASCAL compilers for XENIX System V/286, MS-DOS v 3.3, Quick Basic 3.0, MS-DOS CD-ROM Extensions 1.0, Fortran Optimizing Compiler 4.0, Windows Software Development Kit 1.03, Multiplan 3.0.
After years of creating and releasing useful software, Microsoft started making it big time in 1992 when they released the operating system that would change the way people used computers, Windows 3.x. Windows 3.x allowed computer users to have a graphical interface on their computer, meaning that this is when the mouse was created, goodbye command line.
In 1993, Windows unveiled the next step up the ladder, Windows NT. Windows NT was more aimed towards networking as computer marketing was becoming more popular. In Windows NT, Microsoft developed the NTFS file system, which is still used today. In this same year, Microsoft released the first version of Encarta, the first encyclopedia software. NT was such a success, the former president George Bush upgraded all the computer systems to Windows NT and 3.1, as well as remote email.
In 1995, Microsoft released the next generation of Windows, Windows 95. It still used the Win32 API that was developed in Windows NT, but Microsoft wanted to aim for a more user friendly operating system. By using the old API, they developed a brand new, 32 bit operating system that was designed for multi-tasking. More than four later versions of Windows 95 were released, as well as combining the new interface with Windows NT, creating Windows NT 4.0.
On 25 June 1998, what some people call Microsoft’s peak time, Windows 98 was released. It was said to be a minor revision of Windows 95, but proved to be a lot more stable. Windows 98 included better hardware drivers and better support for the FAT32 file system which now allowed disks to be partitioned in greater than 2 gigabyte sections. This is where Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer were started. Though the popularity of Internet Explorer has been decreasing over the years due to other browsers like Firefox and Opera, about 18.7% of the World Wide Web’s user still use Internet Explorer.
Microsoft continued to distribute their state of the art operating systems, but it wasn’t until 2001 that they developed a rock solid operating system called Windows XP, later leading to three service packs. Windows XP combined all the previous operating systems and brought multiple users to a new level. Windows XP sold an amazing 17 million copies.
Microsoft yet to be satisfied with Windows XP, developed Windows Vista, which was released on November 30, 2006. Vista included a new strict user system that was designed for security purposes, making your computer less susceptible to viruses and spy ware. It also included new software like Microsoft Calendar, Windows DVD Maker and new games including Mahjong, Chess and Purble Place.
Even today, Microsoft is working on expanding the computer user’s experience even more. Currently, Windows 7 is under development. Some features of Windows 7 are faster boot-up, Device Stage, Windows PowerShell, less obtrusive User Account Control, multi-touch, improved window management, networking, multiple thumbnails for combined buttons, and better power management. Though Windows 7 hasn’t been completely finished, you can download the latest version of the development at Microsoft’s website.