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Microsoft Businesses The Almighty Buck Windows Technology

Microsoft Celebrates 40th Anniversary 142 writes Alyssa Newcomb reports at ABC News that the software company started by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975 is 40 and fabulous and highlights products and moments that helped define Microsoft's first four decades including: Microsoft's first product — software for the Altair 8800; Getting a deal to provide a DOS Operating System for IBM's computers in 1980; Shipping Windows 1.0 in 1985; Microsoft Office for Mac released in 1989; Windows 3.0 ships in 1990, ushering in the era of graphics on computers; Windows 95 launches in 1995, selling an astounding 7 million copies in the first five weeks, and the first time the start menu, task bar, minimize, maximize and close buttons are introduced on each window.

For his part, Bill Gates sent a letter to employees celebrating Microsoft's anniversary, and how far computing has come since he and Paul Allen set the goal of a computer on every desk and in every home, and predicting that computing will evolve faster in the next 10 years than it ever has before.
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Microsoft Celebrates 40th Anniversary

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  • in every household
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Nice Microsoft Ad. Didn't mention that they stole much of what they did. I had to laugh when they, "ushered in", the era of graphics...which was already in use by the time Microsoft copied others. Microsoft's greatest contribution to the world of computers was advertising.

    • Hmm I dont own a ford, The Edison light-bulb has been replaced by CFL's, and I quit using Microsoft back in 1995.

      You have to love progress!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    and convincing IBM to pay them per install.

    • Microsoft already had prime real estate in the form of the Cassette-Basic ROM on the motherboard of the early IBM PCs. If you booted a PC from that era up with no boot floppy (or, no floppy disk controller installed at all) it booted to the Microsoft BASIC prompt. A bare machine booted to the same 'Ready' prompt as an Apple or Commodore or TRS-80 machine of the time. Microsoft was IN the machine even without DOS.

  • If computing is going to evolve far way faster in the next ten years than on the previous ten, can Microsoft cope with that? For many people and companies, the usage pattern of Microsoft software has been Windows XP and Office 2003 for approximately the last ten years (with some offset).

    Adobe set a worrying pattern here that I think Microsoft wants to follow: Software as a Service. That is, monthly or yearly fees for licenses. And the reason is that, for some people, some software do everything you need. A

    • But computing isn't going to change much in the next ten years. 15 maybe. The biggest changes coming down are merging interfaces consoldidating and standardizing interface features. I don't see the desktop and file metaphors going anywhere soon.

      Hopefully we will move back to cross platform connectedness. However that is a long road. Why can't iCloud work with other browsers?

  • What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rick Zeman ( 15628 ) on Saturday April 04, 2015 @09:09AM (#49403953)

    Windows 3.0 ships in 1990, ushering in the era of graphics on computers

    I think Apple might have something to say about that claim....

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      I think Cromemco [] might have something to say about any claim Apple might make...

      (Assuming we're limiting this to microcomputers. Otherwise, see Tek 4010 [], among others.)
    • by msobkow ( 48369 )

      Windows had a colour graphics API; the Macs of the period were still black and white.

      Personally I thought the Amiga was better than either (and so I bought one), but they're not around to lay claim to being first with graphics accelerators and special-purpose sound chips.

      • More than just special sound chips.

        The Amiga design is based on the machine being a cluster of closed-source ASICS (each of which was given a girl's name). It was completely contrary to the idea of open hardware systems. Also, ASIC designs don't scale well in the era of Megahertz Wars. They tried, with the later generation Amigas, but they were too 'special' and closed to scale to the heights that the PC clone market eventually reached.

      • Re:What? (Score:4, Informative)

        by GrahamCox ( 741991 ) on Saturday April 04, 2015 @07:15PM (#49406977) Homepage
        Windows had a colour graphics API; the Macs of the period were still black and white

        Nope. Colour Quickdraw was written in 1985 and shipped with the first Mac II in 1986. It had a full colour RGB model, though initially only had 256 colour hardware - 32-bit hardware came in 1987. Even the original "black-and-white" Quickdraw had a simple colour model to support colour printing on Apple's dot-matrix printer.

        You could also do colour graphics on a C64, BBC Micro and ZX Spectrum (hint - the name "Spectrum" was for that very reason). Rewrite history all you like - some might even believe it - but there are plenty of us still around that actually remember how it was.
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Windows 3.0 ships in 1990, ushering in the era of graphics [GUIs] on computers

      I think Apple might have something to say about that claim....

      I think Xerox might have something to say about both, and arguably Ivan Sutherland about Xerox.

    • Commodore 64 had GEOS in 1986 []

      So Apple and Commodore beat them to the punch. lol

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 04, 2015 @09:10AM (#49403957)

    Happy 40th Anniversary and may you live forever Microsoft.
    Thank you for helping my business with your reliable and affordable products (from the DOS times until now), and for making computers usable for all people (from coders like me to even illiterates around the world).
    A Greek that uses "Linux" almost 3 decades now, but -while anonymous- is not the usual Slashdot coward...
    (haters gonna hate!)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      As much as people poop on Microsoft I have to thank them as well for making computers so popular and giving me a life long job and hobby that I have used to support my career and family. Thank you Microsoft!
  • History revisionism (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 04, 2015 @09:13AM (#49403975)

    WOW: "ushering in the era of graphics on computers", WTF is smoking?

    I don't get how everyone is swallowing this propaganda whole every time there's a corporate PR push like this, computer graphics predates Microsoft by decades, and computer graphics 'in every home' predates Windows 3.0 by at least 5 years if you only take the various Apples, Commodores/Amigas, Ataris that were out by 1985 and literally sold millions by then (C=64 e.g. sold 27 million overall until Commodore went bankrupt in 1993). Even "multimedia" was a popular Commodore marketing term for their CD-ROM equipped systems years before Windows 95. This blurb makes it sound like Microsoft "innovated" again and invented computer graphics all by themselves.

    Same for "the first time the start menu, task bar, minimize, maximize and close buttons are introduced on each window" (style errors aside: "start menu"/"task bar" on every window?), again min/max/close buttons were present on every window in early Lisa/MacOS, AmigaOS, Atari TOS, even Geos for C=64 way before MS copied it from Apple (who copied it from Xerox). The only thing Microsoft keeps (re)inventing is history. I guess stock prices aren't inflated high enough yet.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      WOW: "ushering in the era of graphics on computers", WTF is smoking?

      C'mon dude... everyone knows Bill Gates invented the computer...
    • The victors get to write the history. . .or at least attempt to.
    • They managed to make it stick. That way Microsoft brought graphical UI to the masses, just like Apple brought smartphones to the masses with the iPhone though smartphones had existed more than half decade already.

      • They still didn't "usher in" shit. They just made popular.

      • Not really - Apple did more to bring the graphical UI to the masses. Microsoft copied it because they realised they were about to lose a massive amount of market share.

        Meanwhile, Amiga users (and others) read about these "innovations", clicked the disconnect button in their BBS software, closed the window, sat back, and chuckled to themselves.

        The only reasons Windows even sold was because people could run it on their existing hardware (like GEOS on C64), and Mac OS quickly got a reputation for being horribl

    • The eight-bit micro sold in the millions.

      The MS-DOS and Windows PC took sales into the hundreds of millions of units.

      The modular design of the PC made rapid advances in sound and graphics possible.

      But the geek tends to forget that games like Commander Keen and King's Quest were a revelation --- because you could play them on an home office machine that had. no built-in hardware support for animation.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The MS-DOS and Windows PC took sales into the hundreds of millions of units.

        Roughly 1.5 billion currently. No other company has even come close.

    • Ushering in does not mean inventing.

      The people who invented the graphical interface were not good at promoting it or implementing it in a fashion that had broad appeal and robustness. So operations like Microsoft, Apple, Digital Research (Gem) and so on had to usher people into the 'room' so to speak.

      Why the fury about this?

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      "Ushering in..." That wasn't Hugh, that was a direct quote from TFA.

    • microsoft daha nice 40 yllar görür. bilgisayar çanda ihtiyaç olan tüm eyleri size sunuyor. http://konferansinemakoltugu.c... []
    • Same for "the first time the start menu, task bar, minimize, maximize and close buttons are introduced on each window" (style errors aside: "start menu"/"task bar" on every window?), again min/max/close buttons were present on every window in early Lisa/MacOS, AmigaOS, Atari TOS, even Geos for C=64 way before MS copied it from Apple (who copied it from Xerox). The only thing Microsoft keeps (re)inventing is history. I guess stock prices aren't inflated high enough yet.

      Not only this, but also Windows 2.0 [] and Windows 3.0 [] had minimize and maximize buttons. The only addition to window titlebars in Win95 was the close button (which was previously achieved by double-clicking on the menu button at the left of the window titlebar). Some quality research has obviously gone into this article.

      Obligatory link to The Microsoft Hall Of Innovation []. Looks like the site hasn't been maintained in quite a while and has been gone since 2010 or so, gotta love the wayback machine. I'd love to

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's funny. Apple, with the Lisa I believe, and even more notably Commodore with the Amiga, were the ones who ushered in the era of graphics on computers. But yeah let's rewrite history while we're souping up Microsoft infore the release of Windows 10.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Someone should send them a birthday cake.

    • Someone should send them a birthday cake.

      The baker refused to bake it because of some religious believe about GNU, and is now retired thanks to 842,592 [] on gofundme. Suckahs!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Winows made PCs finally not feel like a terminal system (in two meanings)
  • TRS-80 in the late 70s. First was Basic, written by Microsoft. Then Z-80 assembly using the Microsoft editor, assembler, and linker. Did my debugging with TASMON (The Alternate Source Monitor), which was a great debugger.

    Sometime in the 80s Microsoft went from being a great company to being a group of douchebags.
    • The Word Processing application built into the TRS=80 Model 100 (the world's first laptop) was personally written by Bill Gates in 8085 Assembly Language. It was Gates' last real 'coding' project at Mircosoft.

      The built in BASIC in ROM on all the early TRS-80 machines (and most of the other machines of the era) was by Microsoft.

  • They brought computing to the masses...

    For all that Apple, Amiga, Commodore, etc. did, they did not bring computers to the masses.

    Even IBM was never going to do that, it wasn't in their vision. They tried half hearted with the PC Jr. and we all know how bad that was.

    Bill Gates "got it", he understood that we could live in a world where every home had a computer in it. We aren't there yet, but we're well on our way.


    Is Bill Gates a saint? Far from it, he is a ruthless business man who ran a large compan

    • To be fair, Commodore, etc. brought the computer to the masses in the form of plastic cased consumer products that parents could buy their children in department stores. That was a breakthrough that behemoths like IBM couldn't accomplish. The IBM PC came from the 'entry systems' division of IBM. They thought they were coming out with a low cost 'smart terminal' that could connect to their mainframes. Or at least a part of IBM's management thought that was what they were up to. I'm certain renegade eleme

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      They brought computing to the masses

      Perhaps in the sense they "standardized" the OS and software by bundling and monopolizing it. But this had the side-effect of stopping progress once they knocked out a market category.

      I've seen the same bug set in MS-Access linger for about 15 years: MS didn't care because there was no practical alternative to MS-Access: they had pretty much killed Paradox and dBASE because Office bundling made Access the obvious choice in both price and familiarity. (And they bought out

      • If you believe competition is the key to innovation and choice, then what MS did cannot be viewed in a good light. Microsoft stifled the industry; we'd be better off without them.

        I do believe that competition is good...

        But if we had not had Microsoft, it would have been someone else. The situation would not be improved if Apple was the monopoly stakeholder, or IBM, etc...

        The question becomes, is there room for two companies to make a desktop OS? Maybe, but it would seem not to be the case. There were plenty of people trying back in the 80's and 90's, remember GEOS? []

        There were lots of stuff like that back in the day, none of those companies would ha

        • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

          I agree with you that it was a ripe time for a microcomputer monopoly to form. But saying that MS is not a problem because they happened to be the one plugging the monopoly hole is kind of an odd argument.

          Ideally there would be no monopolization. But if we assume for the moment that there is no practical way to prevent the kind of monopolization that happened, then we have to consider an MS domination versus some other co's domination.

          Under that scenario, I haven't seen any evidence that MS is a better mono

          • IBM would have kept PCs at $5,000...

            There is always that...

            I agree that any monopolist is bad, no matter the stripes...

            We could debate that until the cows come home. It isn't 1990 anymore, it is 2015...

            Now what?

            • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

              IBM would have kept PCs at $5,000...

              No, CPM machines would've eaten them at that price. They may have tried, but reality would change them. Anyhow, I don't think IBM was equipped to be the PC monopoly. They were already settled in an "enterprise" mentality. Maybe Apple, Tandy, or Commodore if they had played their cards right.

  • - though it hardly seems necessary after the swathe of self-congratulations mentioned in the OP.

    Windows 3.0 ships in 1990, ushering in the era of graphics on computers

    Isn't that just a bit rich, when it is well-known that the X Window System was actually invented at MIT (Wikipedia):

    The original idea of X emerged at MIT in 1984 as a collaboration between Jim Gettys (of Project Athena) and Bob Scheifler (of the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science)

    - MacOS and Windows work according the principles invented by these guys, so when did "the era of graphics on computers" begin?

    • In 1990 the X Window System was an intellectual curiosity. Then over time it became an expensive widget for the Military-industrial complex to sell for big bucks to the government and scientists. Because it was 'open' the free software nose poked it's way in the tent and it became the GUI for Linux and the other freenixes.

      It's still today essentially a niche technology and the freenixes are trying to push it outta the way so they can innovate.

  • ought to be enough for anyone.
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday April 04, 2015 @01:35PM (#49405221)

    First off, I like what Microsoft is doing these days. I like what they are doing with open source, I like that they are really supporting other platforms. I even think Azure looks like a nice server solution.

    That said I don't think we should EVER forget that the computer industry lost around two decades of progress as Microsoft crushed all innovation and competition, and along with it real advancement in computer science and writing applications. There's also Microsoft trapping who knows how many brilliant minds inside Microsoft R&D, their work never to be seen again in anything meaningful because it might have impacted Windows.

  • Excel (first introduced on the Mac in 1985) was a huge step forward from Lotus 1-2-3. Word (first graphical version also on the Mac in 1985) blew WordPerfect right out of the water.
    Developing these for the Mac gave Microsoft a taste of what a GUI could do, which was much more than Lotus and WordPerfect were doing with their crappy GUIs grafted onto CLI programs. Even by 1990 and Windows 3.0, Lotus and WordPerfect still stank.

    That they bundled Word and Excel in 1989, whatever. The real innovation happened ye

  • by Johnny Loves Linux ( 1147635 ) on Saturday April 04, 2015 @05:09PM (#49406293)

    I've seen a lot of pro and con posts about Microsoft's place in computer history. Maybe this post will help people see it more clearly.

    1. Microsoft didn't invent BASIC. BASIC was around since 1964. [].
    2. Microsoft didn't invent DOS. They bought something called QDOS and rebranded it DOS. []
    3. Microsoft didn't invent ubiquitous computing. IBM created a personal computer based on the Intel 8086. But long before that there was the TRS 80, the Commodore Pet, Apple II, and for those people who preferred to roll their own hardware, there were Heathkit parts (, and []) to build one's own computers.
    4. Before there was DOS there was CP/M which could run on Intel 8080, Zilog Z80, Motorola 6502 (it was available as a card for Apple II's). There was even a version for 8086. (
    5. The PC industry began not with Microsoft, but with Compaq who made the first IBM PC clones. You may be too young to remember, but PCs used to be called IBM PCs. []
    6. Others have already pointed out that GUIs began with Xerox PARC, and the mouse itself goes back to 1968 (

    So what exactly did Microsoft invent? Reference: []

    1. A method of ensuring an operating system monopoly by preventing other operating systems from being preinstalled on OEM equipment.
    2. A method of ensuring that OEMs cooperated by giving them a kickback if they cooperated with Microsoft's strategies.
    3. A EULA (End User Licensing Agreement) making it difficult, if not impossible, for an individual to decline the license, return the software, and receive a refund for the Microsoft software they didn't want to use.

    I don't believe it's immoral or wrong for folks to make their livelihood using Microsoft products, but I do think it's unwise to do business with Microsoft while being ignorant of their long history. I also think it's dishonest not to admit that the Microsoft Corporation has a long history of doing shady things to software partners (,_Inc.#Browser_wars and [] for example) , OEM vendors, Standards Boards ( and lastly to customers (

  • ... MS might be forty this year but 2015 is the year of Linux on the desktop.
  • Interesting that nearly all advancement and innovation in computing is happening in areas that Microsoft does not occupy, or if they are there, they are a bit player or leech.
  • Android will put all the nails in the coffin of Microsoft. Around the world people do not have the disposable income we have in the USA. The poor will get computers and the 3rd world counties will for many. In the developing lands we want something that works like an iPad and if we don't have the ability to buy one for each family member we will use android. All the developers that don't have their head in the sand or their ass have seen this and are writing android apps for the billion devices out ther

  • "Windows 3.0 ships in 1990, ushering in the era of graphics on computers..."

    You've lgot to be kidding me!
  • The East India Trading Company just turned 415 years old in December! THAT is the oldest, most time-tested company of all time. In altered forms, it still exists to this very day...
  • Not sure if it was 25 or 30th anniversary, Microsoft contacted me for some antique computers they wanted to borrow for a photo shoot. I said sure, cough up some bucks for the rental. (I had rented some before for movie/photo shoots,etc.) They politely declined which was no surprise.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva