The History of Microsoft - Page 2

Nov 7, 2012  Print Story

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Here continues the story of Microsoft…

The Age of Windows: 1985


Jan 1985: Microsoft has created MacEnhancer that gives Apple Macintosh support for a number of peripherals used in IBM PC. This is an indication of the acceptance of Macintosh along with DOS-powered IBM PC.

Aug 1985: Microsoft and IBM get into an agreement to create computer operating systems and other basic software. Also, Microsoft has started development of its new headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

Sept 1985: Microsoft has its first production facility in Ireland. During this time, Office products like Excel were released for Apple Macintosh as well.

November, 1985: MICROSOFT WINDOWS RETAIL VERSION GETS RELEASED! This is probably the most important product ever from any software company in the history of the world.

the first version of Microsoft Windows
Windows 1.0 had non-overlapping programs

A Public Company: 1986


Feb 1986: MS moves to its new headquarters in Redmond, Washington. [[image]]

Redmond Headquarters of Microsoft

Mar, 1986: CD-ROM technology is in its initial stage of development.

March 13, 1986: Microsoft IPO, marking the advent of one of the most lucrative trading stocks in the history of business. It started with 21 dollars per share and stands at about 29 dollars today after nine stock splits and regular dividend payments since 2003 (this means NASDAQ: MSFT is an extremely profitable and reliable stock to purchase even today).

Sept 1986: Microsoft releases a patch that incorporates support for CD-ROMs on MS-DOS.

Oct 1986: One of the most important publications by MS, MSJ (Microsoft Systems Journal) is released for the first time. Later on, it would get incorporated to the MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network). Microsoft Works software suite gets released for Apple Macintosh.

A Highly Recognizable Brand: 1987—1989


Feb 1987: Microsoft has a new logo that becomes the brand identity until recently when Microsoft changed its logo.

Microsoft's logo with a split at O and S

Apr 1987: Microsoft and IBM’s joint venture signed back in 1985 has its first product, OS/2 was released. The collaboration between IBM and MS would break up in the future due to differences in opinion and MS’s tremendous success with its competing product, Windows.

Jul 1987: Birth of Microsoft PowerPoint with the acquisition of Forethought, the company that developed this presentation software.

Aug 1987: Microsoft releases a new mouse, fondly called “Dove Soap Bar”. This was a plug-and-play mouse, the first one of its kind.

Sept 1987: The first ever CD from Microsoft, Bookshelf, gets released. It was a collection of ten reference works.

The first CD from Microsoft, Bookshelf

Oct 1987: Microsoft announces MS Excel spreadsheet program for Windows personal computers. The first version supporting Macintosh was released earlier. Microsoft acquired InterMail, an email application developed by Interactive Network Technologies Inc.

Apr 1988: Microsoft has moved its development and distribution division to 245,000 sqft campus in Canyon Park industrial complex, Bothell, Washington.

Jun 1988: MS hires Mike Maples from IBM to head its software division as vice president.

Oct 1988: Microsoft kick-starts its educational ventures with the announcement of educational software that will include lite versions of Microsoft software.

Nov 1988: David Cutler joins Microsoft. He was a self-taught expert in computer software technology, and he spear-headed the development of Windows NT released in 1993. He was the head of development of all the subsequent versions of Microsoft Windows. In 2007, he was given the Microsoft Technical Recognition Award. Also, Microsoft has released the SDK (Software Development Kit) for Windows, causing an array of Windows applications to be developed in the coming years.

May 1989: SQL Server ships. This is the first relational database development language based on Sybase technology. This was a joint venture with Ashton-Tate Corporation.

June 1989: Microsoft Office gets released! It would go on to become one of the most successful software suites in history. It incorporated Excel, Word, Mail and PowerPoint. The first version of the suite was released for Apple Macintosh computers, extending seamless support for the friendly competition from Apple.

Microsoft Office with four applications

The Beginning of Monopoly: 1990—1993


Jan 1990: MS Word gets released for Windows.

Mar 1990: Nathan Myhrvold becomes vice president of advanced technology and business development (he joined MS in 1986. He later grew into chief technology officer at MS and founded Microsoft Research in 1991.

May 1990: Windows 3.0 gets released on May 22. Among other things, the popular card game Solitaire was also released this month.

July 1990: Microsoft’s net annual sales exceeded 1 billion USD.

Aug 1990: Microsoft Consulting Services Group is formed. This division works with other companies analyzing their technology requirements and promoting Microsoft products that will create profit for them.

Oct 1990: Microsoft has packaged the four important productivity programs into the MS Office Suite and made it available for Windows now. It has already been available for Macintosh.

Nov 1990: Bill Gates has delivered his ‘Information at Your Fingertips’ speech (IAYF) at Comdex (a technology convention conducted in fall every year). The original speech was not to be found, but I have a video here of the speech done in 1994 Comdex that continues the original IAYF concept by Bill Gates. This is an amazing speech that any technology enthusiast will find entertaining.



1991: The major software released this year includes Microsoft Visual Basic Professional for MS-DOS, Excel 2.0, MS-DOS version 5, Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft Works for Windows, and Microsoft Money.

Mar 1991: Microsoft has designed a new mouse known as ball point mouse for laptops.

June 1991: Launch of MS-DOS 5.0. Also, this month Microsoft was connected to the TCP/IP Internet available nationwide. It’s another great story, the development of the Internet.

Sept 1991: The Microsoft research group has been formed and Richard F Rashid was roped in to lead it.

1992: Major software launches include MS Access database management system, FoxPro, etc.

Jan 1992: Jeff Raikes becomes the senior vice president of marketing, sales, and service in the US. He would later become the CEO of MS’s charity wing, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Mar 1992: MS and Fox Software merge.

Apr 1992: Windows 3.1 for Workgroups has been released.

Microsoft releases Windows for Workgroups

Jul 1992: MSDN, the Microsoft Developer Network takes birth. This would flourish to become one of the largest developer communities out there causing the development of hundreds of thousands of applications for Windows.

1993: Major software releases this year include MS Encarta, Windows NT, SQL Server for Win NT 4.2, Microsoft Fine Artist, etc.

Mar 1993: Microsoft Encarta gets released. This would go on to become the premier educational software for the decade, overshadowing even the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Encarta Encyclopedia from Microsoft

Apr 1993: Microsoft has designed the MS mouse 2.0 with a better design matching today’s mice. On Apr 23, Frank Gaudette, executive VP of Operations Group, passes away due to cancer.

May 1993: Windows NT (New Technology) and NT Advanced Server get released. This is one of the most important releases of Windows yet, supporting both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures at that time.

Oct 1993: Microsoft Home, a new brand (just like Live, Bing, etc.) has been announced. This brand would create a number of multimedia applications for both Windows and Macintosh.

[Image Credit: Microsoft]
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