This Day in History (20-Nov-1985) – Microsoft ships Windows 1.0

In 1975, two young computer enthusiasts, Bill Gates and Paul Allen formed a partnership called Microsoft. Like most start-ups, Microsoft began small, but had a huge vision—a computer on every desktop and in every home. In June 1980, they hired Gates’ former Harvard classmate Steve Ballmer to help run the company. The next month, IBM approached Microsoft about a project code-named “Chess.” In response, Microsoft focused on a new operating system—the software that manages, or runs, the computer hardware and also serves to bridge the gap between the computer hardware and programs, such as a word processor. They named their new operating system “MS‑DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System).” When the IBM PC running MS‑DOS shiped in 1981, it introduced a whole new language to the general public. Typing “C:” and various cryptic commands gradually became part of daily work. People discovered the backslash (\) key.

MS‑DOS was effective, but also proved difficult to understand for many people. Microsoft worked on the first version of a new operating system. Interface Manager was the code name and was considered as the final name, but Windows prevailed because it best described the boxes or computing “windows” that were fundamental to the new system. Windows was announced in 1983, but it took a while to develop. On November 20, 1985, two years after the initial announcement, Microsoft shiped Windows 1.0. Now, rather than typing MS‑DOS commands, one just moved a mouse to point and clicked your way through screens, or “windows.” Bill Gates said, “It is unique software designed for the serious PC user.” There were drop-down menus, scroll bars, icons, and dialog boxes that made programs easier to learn and use. One was able to switch among several programs without having to quit and restart each one. Windows 1.0 shiped with several programs, including MS‑DOS file management, Paint, Windows Writer, Notepad, Calculator, and a calendar, card file, and clock to  manage day-to-day activities. There was even a game—Reversi.

Windows 1.0 was a flop comapred to Macintosh, as described by many critics. But it also was the embodiment of a technology vision which created a tech empire.

Reference:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-IN/windows/history#T1=era0

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-IN/windows/history#T1=era1

http://www.cnet.com/news/windows-1-0-the-flop-that-created-an-empire/

This Day in History (4-Apr-1975) – Microsoft is founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen

Childhood friends, Paul Allen and Bill Gates were total computer geeks in an age when any access to computers was hard to come by. Allen and Gates skipped classes to live and breathe in their school’s computer room. Eventually, they hacked the school’s computer but instead of expulsion, the duo were offered unlimited computer time in exchange for helping to improve the computer’s performance. Bill Gates and Paul Allen even ran their own small company called Traf-O-Data and sold a computer to the city of Seattle for counting city traffic.

In 1973, Bill Gates left Seattle to attend Harvard University as a pre-law student. However, Gate’s first love never left him, as he spent most of his time in Harvard’s computer center where he kept improving his programming skills. Soon Paul Allen moved to Boston as well, pressuring Gates to quit Harvard so that the team could work full-time together on their projects. Bill Gates quit Harvard.

In January 1975, Paul Allen read an article about the Altair 8800 microcomputer in Popular Electronics magazine.  Bill Gates called MITS, the makers of the Altair, and offered his and Paul Allen’s services to write a version of the new BASIC programming language for the Altair. In eight weeks, Allen and Gates were able to demonstrate their program to MITS, who agreed to distribute and market the product under the name of Altair BASIC.

The Altair deal inspired Gates and Allen to form their own software company, and Microsoft was started on April 4, 1975, with Bill Gates as the first CEO. In July 1975, Bill Gates used the name “Micro-soft” (the combination of the words microprocessor and software) in a letter to Paul Allen to refer to their partnership. The name was registered. By 1978, Microsoft excced $1m sell. Microsoft rose to dominate the personal computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s, followed by Microsoft Windows. As of now, Microsoft is market dominant in both the PC-compatible operating system and office software suite markets. In November, 2014, Microsoft became the 2nd most valuable company by market capitalization, behind only Apple Inc. with total market value over $410B.

 

Reference:

http://www.mapsofworld.com/on-this-day/april-4-1968-martin-luther-king-jr.-is-assassinated-in-memphis

http://inventors.about.com/od/CorporateProfiles/p/Microsoft-History.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft