The History of Microsoft – Page 3

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Here continues, the history of Microsoft…

New Ventures: 1995—1997

Feb 1994: MS has acquired Softimage Inc, a company from Canada.

Nov 14, 1994: The new slogan of MS “Where Do You Want to Go Today?” comes about. The campaign was introduced in a SoHo in New York (a restaurant chain owned by Robert DeNiro).

Jan 1995: Bill Gates has announced Microsoft Bob, an interactive application supposed to simplify PC tasks. Bob went on to become a phenomenal failure in Microsoft’s history, causing it to be withdrawn from production soon.

Mar 1995: Microsoft and DreamWorks join hands to form DreamWorks Interactive that will produce interactive, entertainment software.

Aug 1995: On 24 Aug 1995, Microsoft releases Windows 95, which would become enormously successful selling a million copies within the first four days of release. Also released was MS Office 95. This month marks the release of the most important web browser for two decades, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and the major portal called MSN.

Sept 1995: SideWinder 3D Pro, a gaming joystick from Microsoft is released.

Dec 1995: Microsoft signs a pact with NBC to create MSNBC, an interactive news channel (MSNBC would go live in June 1996). Microsoft has announced over 20 products and technologies related to the development of Internet. They include MSN, Internet Explorer, and a number of others.

Jan 1996: Microsoft has acquired Vermeer Technologies. This would pave way to the creation of Microsoft FrontPage, the HTML editing software from the company.

Apr 1996: The Microsoft Exchange Server is made available to users. This is an email and calendar application available from Microsoft server so that clients can use it over a network.

Sept 1996: Windows CE (Embedded Compact) is announced. This is the first ever project from Microsoft for mobile devices. This version is specifically created for machines with low hardware features, supporting x86 and ARM architectures. WinCE gets released directly to OEMs just like the current Windows RT; many people think CE stands for ‘Compact Edition’ or ‘Concise Edition’, including me, previously. Also released are Windows NT Workstation and Server.

Oct 1996: MSN goes online through its website.

Nov 1996: MS Flight Simulator game is released for the Windows platform. Previously it was available only for Macintosh.

Jan 16, 1997: Bill Gates releases MS Office Suite 97. The new application Outlook 97 is packaged into this version. FrontPage and Access are not yet part of the suite.

Aug 1997: Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Bill Gates come together with a 150 million dollar investment in Apple by Microsoft. They outline product and technology development together.

Sept 1997: Internet Explorer 4.0 gets released.

Oct 1997: Age of Empires strategy game gets released by Microsoft Studios, developed by Ensemble Studios. The strategy game would go on to become one of the most successful and would cause the development of other strategy games. Sun Microsystems sues Microsoft for its wrong implementation of Java platform.

Dec 1997: One of Microsoft’s most important acquisitions happens with Hotmail. Hotmail was developed by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith in July 1996 as HoTMaiL, and it went on to become one of the premier provider of internet based email.

Web Monopoly: 1998—2000

May 1998: The US Justice Department and 20 state attorneys general file an antitrust lawsuit against MS. This is another great story, the story of Internet Explorer. There was Netscape, a very popular browser, and Microsoft extended support for IE on Win98, and used its monopoly in OS market to create market for IE and dethrone Netscape. This was the reason why the US Justice Dept. sued Microsoft.

The company eventually failed the lawsuit and had to separate its OS and software business so that software companies would have a better opportunity to develop software for the Windows platform. However, US Court of Appeals would reverse this decision in 2001.

June 1998: Windows 98 gets released. This and the upgrade known as Second Edition have been known to be very stable.

July 1998: Steve Ballmer becomes the President of Microsoft. Also released software include Windows Media Player, Encarta Africana, Windows NT NetShow Services, and NetShow Theater Server.

Bill Gates & Steve Ballmer

Oct 1998: Microsoft releases the Microsoft Cordless Phone System that interfaces with the computer to manage telephone functions.

Feb 1999: Microsoft has its online store at

Mar 1999: IE 5.0 gets released with over a million downloads, solidly placing it as the main browser.

June 1999: MSN Mobile is launched. Also released is Office Professional 2000, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Access, Publisher.

July 1999: The launch of MSN Messenger.

Sept 1999: Age of Empires game has its second version released, the Age of Kings.

Nov 1999: Microsoft releases its multiplayer online game, Asheron’s Call. Microsoft Passport goes live. This is one of the first instances of online wallet.

Jan 2000: Bill Gates becomes the chairman and chief software architect of MS, and appoints Steve Ballmer the CEO.

Feb 2000: On 17 Feb, MS has released Windows 2000 Professional (the first operating system that I have experienced).

April 2000: Announced software includes Microsoft Project 2000, Visio 2000 (by virtue of an acquisition), etc.

Jul 2000: MSN becomes the most widely used website in the world with over 201 million visitors during the previous month.

Sept 2000: â€œInside Out Microsoft – In Our Own Words” a book written by over a thousand MS employees goes to the hands of every MS employee. This book commemorates the 25th year of the company. The celebrations of the 25th year anniversary starts in Safeco Field, Seattle on Sept 5. This month MS also released Windows ME (Millennium Edition).

Age of eXPerience: 2001—2002

Jan 2001: Microsoft and Sun Microsystems have settled their lawsuit started back in 1997.

May 30, 2001: Office XP was released. It was also known as Office 10.

Oct 2001: Windows XP is here! The most important version of Windows ever! And it has become extremely popular during the last decade. Win XP was launched at the Marriott Marquis Theatre in New York City Times Square.

Nov 2001: Microsoft launches Xbox gaming console along with five games including the popular Halo.

Feb 2002: .NET Framework, one of the most important cross-platform application programming interfaces of Microsoft is launched. This coincides with the launch of Visual Studio .NET, the programming language suite containing Visual Basic, Visual C++, C#, etc.

Oct 2002: Microsoft unveils MSN 8 at New York Central Park.

Nov 2002: MS launches the online gaming service, Xbox Live with Starter Kit. The first Windows XP tablet PCs are also launched.

Rewarding Financial Success: 2003—2004

Jan 2003: The first annual dividend of the MS stock has been announced.

April 2003: Launch of Windows Server 2003.

HP Superdome Server
HP Superdome Server running 64-bit Windows Server 2003. In 2003, this was the fastest computer in the world

Jun 2003: Windows Mobile 2003 is announced.

Sept 2003: MS launches Office Live Meeting, a web conferencing service.

Oct 2003: Office Professional 2003 is released. This version had radically redesigned interface.

Apr 2004: Microsoft and Sun Microsystems join hands for technology development.

Jul 2004: Board of directors decides to return over 75 billion dollars to the shareholders through annual dividends or share buyback program. See how profitable MS stock has been over the years. Starck Mouse was developed, a highly ergonomic optical mouse.

Aug 2004: Windows XP SP 2 with Advanced Security Technologies was released. This included Windows Firewall, Pop-up Blocker, and Windows Security Center.

Sept 2004: Microsoft fingerprint reader has been released. It works on Windows XP and Vista.

Microsoft fingerprint reader

Oct 2004: Bill Gates releases Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. Also released was Office Professional 2004 with Virtual PC for Macintosh.

Nov 2004: The popular game, Halo has its second version released. The sales exceed 2 million copies within a day.

The story of Microsoft continues in page 4.

[Image credit: Microsoft]

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