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History of Microsoft

 

Hobbyists became entrepreneurs – some more successfully than others. Personal computers proliferated, with no standards and no preconceived notions of what these new machines could be or could do. It was an adventure shared by a virtual handful of enthusiasts…

World’s First Minicomputer to Rival Commercial Models

While Hobbyists around the USA were trying to figure out how to piece together systems from parts found in electronics shops, MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems) of Albuquerque, New Mexico, announced the MITS Altair 8800 on the cover of the 1st January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics.

The MITS Altair inspired a new generation of technology enthusiasts, including Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who were among the first of these early hobbyists to realize that the key to the future of personal computing lay in the unlimited potential of software.

“This is it!” says Paul Allen, waving a copy of Popular Electronics in his hand. “it’s about to begin!” On the cover is a mockup of the MITS Altair, the first personal computer.

Dr. John G. Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz developed the BASIC language at Dartmouth in 1964. BASIC stood for “Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code”. Their objective: to create a simplified computer language for teaching students how to program. Gates and Allen recognized that the compact design of BASIC made it ideal for the limitations of the first personal computers, which had extremely restricted memory and processing power.

Allen, employed by Honeywell and his friend Bill Gates, a sophomore at Harvard, immediately set out to adapt BASIC for the machine, working in marathon 24-hour sessions.

Using the Altair’s published specifications, Gates and Allen created a simulator on a DEC PDP-10 computer that allowed it to emulate the MITS machine. Working day and night, they created the first version of MICROSOFT BASIC for the Altair

Jan 2, Bill Gates and Paul Allen complete BASIC

Allen is going to deliver it to MITS president Ed Roberts in Albuquerque. Realizing he didn’t have a way to load it into the computer, Paul Allen hand assembled a loader program for BASIC at 30,000 feet in the air, on the flight to New Mexico. Even though it had never been tested on an actual machine, it ran perfectly on the very first try.

They license BASIC to their first customer, MITS of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the manufacturer of the Altair 8800 personal computer. This is the first computer language program written for a personal computer.

Jan 3, Paul Allen joins MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems) as Director of Software. , and Gates follows him later that year to form an informal partnership called Micro-soft, complete with hyphen.

The “MITS Mobile” travels through the western United States demonstrating the Altair and “Micro-soft” BASIC. It also unwittingly distributes copies of not-quite-ready-for-prime-time (i.e., pirated) BASIC.

March 7, The MITS Altair newsletter, Computer Notes, declares, “Altair BASIC — Up and Running.”

July 1, Bill Gates’ and Paul Allen’s BASIC officially ships as version 2.0 in both 4K and 8K editions.

July 22, Paul Allen and Bill Gates sign a licensing agreement with MITS regarding the BASIC Interpreter. Microsoft is not yet an official partnership. In fact, the name has not even been chosen.

Nov 29, In a letter to Paul Allen, Bill Gates uses the name “Micro-soft” to refer to their (60/40)(3) Partnership. This is the earliest known written reference.

Homebrew Computer Club meets for the first time (in Gordon French’s garage) in Menlo Park, California.

The Computer Mart opens on Madison Avenue in New York. Zilog Z-80 chip is introduced.

Stats

Revenues: $16,005
Employees: 3 (Allen, Gates, and Ric Weiland)
MITS promotes Altair BASIC, the computer language developed by Gates and Allen for the Altair computer. Hobbyists are ecstatic, despite the fact that, even with BASIC, there is little you can actually do with the Altair.
The “MITS Mobile” travels through the western United States demonstrating the Altair and “Micro-soft” BASIC. It also unwittingly distributes copies of not-quite-ready-for-prime-time (i.e., pirated) BASIC.

1976

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak announce the Apple I personal computer, for only $666.66! (2) A price high but affordable for someone really wanting to buy his own computer.

Shugart introduces the 5.25-inch floppy disk drive at $390. Three computer magazines arrive: BYTE, Computer Graphics & Art, and Dr. Dobb’s Journal of Computer Calisthenics and Orthodontia.

April Fools!
Apple Computer is formed with the introduction of the Apple I on April Fool’s day 1976. Out of the garage and into the history books, Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak build the first single circuit board PC complete with video interface and 8K of RAM and a keyboard. The system incorporated some cost saving components including the MOS Technologies 6502 processor and dynamic RAM. Various potential investors were shown the prototype Apple I which was mounted on a piece of plywood with all components visible. A computer hobbyist group; the Homebrew Computer Club based in Palo Alto, California previewed one of the prototypes and its innovative features. A local computer dealer owner who agreed to sell the units required that they were assembled which was not the norm for customers buying computers at the time. Once displayed in his store, almost all the Apple I systems sold in the next ten months. 200 Apple I systems were built before the introduction of the Apple II. Jobs and Wozniak continued building systems out of their garage for two years before the move to the current Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.

March 27, Twenty-year old Bill Gates gives the opening address at the First Annual World Altair Computer Convention (WACC) held in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

July 1, Microsoft refines and enhances BASIC to sell to other customers including DTC, General Electric, NCR, and Citibank.

November 1, Paul Allen resigns from MITS to join Microsoft full time.

November 26, The tradename “Microsoft” is registered with the Office of the Secretary of the State of New Mexico “to identify computer programs for use in automatic data processing systems; pre-programming processing systems; and data processing services including computer programming services.” The application says that the name has been in continuous use since November 12, 1975.

Microsoft develops its first ad campaign, called “The Legend of Micro-Kid.”

Although still an informal partnership, Microsoft moves to its first real offices in One Park Central Tower in Albuquerque. Gates returns to Harvard for the spring term, but finds time to direct Microsoft in its efforts to license BASIC to General Electric, NCR, Citibank, and others.

February 3, Bill Gates is one of the first programmers to raise the issue of software piracy. In his “An Open Letter to Hobbyists,” first published in MITS newsletter “Computer Notes” and later in several other newsletters and magazines), Gates accuses hobbyists of stealing software and thus preventing “…good software from being written.” “If you are STILL using Altair BASIC 1.1, you have a copy that was stolen in March 1975!”
He prophetically concludes with the line, “…Nothing would please me more than being able to hire ten programmers and deluge the hobby market with good software.”

Stats

Revenues: $22,496
Employees: 7
MITS sponsors the World Altair Computer Convention (WACC) in Albuquerque, for Altair owners, dealers, programmers, and anyone interested in microcomputers. The convention features a 20-year-old as the keynote speaker: Bill Gates.

Microsoft develops its first ad campaign, called “The Legend of Micro-Kid.”

1977

Digital Research markets CP/M (Control Program for Microcomputers) operating system, seeks to set standard.

Tandy Corporation announces TRS-80 Model 1 microcomputer.

Commodore Business Machines introduces Personal Electronic Transactor (PET) computer.

 

 

 

Apple Computer introduces Apple II.

 

 

 

Branching Beyond BASIC, Microsoft develops FORTRAN, COBOL, and Assembler, extending the capabilities of the PC into scientific and business realms.

July 1, The company ships its second language, (Microsoft’s version of) FORTRAN, and begins offering BASIC on a single-copy basis.

Other First-generation machines that ran Microsoft BASIC included computers from Atari, Cromemco, and Texas Instruments, built around a mind-numbing range of processors that included the Z-80, 8080, 6800, 6809, 6502, and 68000. Because most machines had unique designs with proprietary (and usually primitive) operating systems, the Microsoft development team had to create a specialized version of each language for each computer.

With the introduction of inexpensive microprocessors such as the Intel 8080 and the MOS 6502, a few people began to dream of actually having their own computers.

With BASIC in demand, Microsoft branches out

February 3, A partnership agreement between Paul Allen and Bill Gates is officially executed. Their main product is still BASIC, but it’s tied up with MITS, which has agreed to make a “best effort” to license it to other companies. In Bill and Paul’s view, however, MITS is making less effort than it should.

The picture shows:
Starting from the top, left: Steve Wood, Bob Wallace & Jim Lane
Next row: Bob O’Rear, Bob Greenburg, Marc McDonald & Gordon Letwin
Next row: Bill Gates, Andrea Lewis, Marla Wood & Paul Allen

November 18, Arbitration decides the matter in Microsoft’s favor, setting the company free to market BASIC to others. Within months, Microsoft licenses BASIC for the Commodore PET and TRS-80 computers, and begins negotiating with other companies. BASIC product. BASIC has been the subject of an extended legal dispute between the two companies.

Presidents

Bill Gates and Paul Allen shared the title of general partner until 1977, when Bill Gates became president and Paul Allen vice president of Microsoft Corp.

Stats

The BASIC Foundation for a company
Revenues: $381,715
Employees: 9
Microsoft’s flat fee of $21,000 for what becomes Applesoft BASIC seems like a good idea at the time, until Apple sells more than a million machines with BASIC built in. Put your calculators away; it works out to 2 cents per copy.

1978

5.25-inch disk drives arrive for Tandy and Apple computer systems. 16-bit microprocessors are here. Intel introduces the 8086 chip. Al Gore coins the phrase “information highway.” First COMDEX computer show in Las Vegas

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak wrote Integer BASIC, the first language available for the machine. But it was quickly supplanted in popularity by Microsoft Applesoft BASIC.

The Personal Electronic Transactor -better known as the Commodore PET- had an integrated, self-contained design and was aggressively priced at less than $800. Microsoft developed its first 6502-based BASIC for the Commodore and sold the source code to Apple. The machine used a cassette recorder for loading and storing data.

 

 

 

Introduced in 1977 and licensed to Apple, Applesoft BASIC offered a richer set of programming commands as well as floating-point arithmetic, allowing for the development of the first generation of business-oriented applications. Applesoft BASIC was first made available on tape and disk, then provided in ROM on the popular Apple II Plus. In addition, the company offered the Applesoft Compiler for customers who wanted the faster performance possible with compiled code.

April 11, Microsoft announces its third language product, Microsoft COBOL-80.

November 1, Microsoft establishes its first international sales office in Japan. Microsoft appoints ASCII Microsoft, located in Tokyo, as its exclusive sales agent for the Far East. Organizing the new operation is Kazuhiko Nishi, founder and publisher of Japan’s popular ASCII magazine

December 31, Microsoft’s year end sales exceed $1 million dollars

Seattle natives Gates and Allen announce plans to return home and set up offices in Bellevue, Washington, becoming the first microcomputer software company in the Northwest. A meeting between Japanese computer magazine publisher Kay Nishi and Bill Gates prompts the establishment of ASCII Microsoft, a Japanese company that markets Microsoft products to original equipment manufacturers, dealers, and end users. Interestingly enough, although the products are in English, they sell well. Microsoft is still exclusively in the business of developing languages, and Microsoft BASIC is the language of choice for the entire burgeoning industry.

Beyond the BASICs: Microsoft introduces COBOL-80.

Stats

Revenues: $1,355,655
Employees: 13
Anticipating the success of the 16-bit processor, Microsoft begins development of simulators in order to speed and simplify code development.

International

The first international office is established when Microsoft forms a strategic partnership with Kazuhiko Nishi, founder of ASCII Corporation in Japan.

1979

January 1, Microsoft moves its offices to Bellevue, Washington from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
After moving to Bellevue, Microsoft continues to grow in employees, sales, and vision. Microsoft has a BASIC compiler for virtually every microcomputer on the market. However, the company recognizes that languages are only a part of the picture, which is why Microsoft makes its first foray into the mass-market possibilities of personal computers by forming the Consumer Products Division, created to develop and market retail products and to provide support for individual users.

 

Although titles such as Olympic Decathlon and Adventure are among the company’s consumer hits, this effort is eventually folded back into the company, and the consumer market doesn’t really take off for more than a decade.

April 4, Microsoft 8080 BASIC is the first microprocessor product to win the ICP Million Dollar Award. Traditionally dominated by software for mainframe computers, this recognition is indicative of the growth and acceptance of the PC industry.

June 18, Microsoft announces Microsoft BASIC for the 8086 16-bit microprocessor. This first release of a resident high-level language for use on 16-bit machines marks the beginning of widespread use of these processors.

November 29, Microsoft expands its service to the European market with the addition of a new representative, Vector Microsoft, of Belgium. Microsoft has already established contracts with ICL, Phillips, R2E, and several other OEMs.

First entry into the European market. Vector International, based in Haasrode, Belgium, signs on to represent Microsoft.

VisiCalc spreadsheet program wows industry at West Coast Computer Faire.

WordStar by MicroPro International seeks to become top word-processing program.

Get “On-Line” with the Source of CompuServe.

Stats

Revenues: $2,390,145
Employees: 28
By working closely with NEC and its PC-8001 computer, Microsoft extends its worldwide effort of working closely with computer manufacturers in the development of hardware.

International

First entry into the European market. Vector International, based in Haasrode, Belgium, signs on to represent Microsoft.

1980

Apple Computer goes public. 4.6 million shares, largest offering since Ford Motor in 1956. Novell, Inc. announces that it will develop network software. One million computers installed in the U.S.

April 2, Microsoft SoftCard -one of the company’s first hardware products- made it possible to run programs designed for the CP/M operating system on the Apple II.
Microsoft announces the Microsoft Z-80 SoftCard, a microprocessor on a printed circuit board that plugs into the Apple II computer and allows owners to run thousands of programs available for the 8080/Z-80 class of computers with only minor modifications. Microsoft will provide BASIC, FORTRAN, and COBOL languages for the Z-80 SoftCard. (A version for the ill-fated Apple III was also available.) SoftCard was an enormous success in early-day computer terms, and Microsoft sold more than 100,000 units between 1977 and 1982.

Microsoft announces Microsoft XENIX OS, a portable operating system for 16-bit microprocessors. It is an interactive, multi-user, multi-tasking system that will run on Intel 8086, Zilog Z8000, Motorola M68000, and DEC PDP-11 series. All of Microsoft’s existing system software (COBOL, PASCAL, BASIC and DBMS) will be adapted to run under the XENIX system, and all existing software written for UNIX OS will be compatible as well.

June 11, Microsoft hires Steve Ballmer. He will be responsible for establishing policies and procedures in the financial, organizational, and resource allocation areas.

Although the company grows by only two employees sales more than triple. Microsoft introduces the Pascal language, develops XENIX (enhanced version of the UNIX operating system), and begins to explore spreadsheet applications. It also releases its first hardware product, the Microsoft SoftCard, which allows Apple II users to run CP/M-80 (operating system from Digital Research -nope, no MS-DOS yet!) applications. The biggest of the big news, however, is still a big secret: a contract with IBM to develop languages for their first personal computer. Wow. But it gets better. They need an operating system too!

Stats

The Dawning of a Decade
Revenues: $7,520,720
Employees: 40
Steve Ballmer arrives from Procter & Gamble to serve as the first assistant to the president. Ballmer’s arrival eases Bill Gates’s administrative burden and allows the company to hire “lots of good people.”

1981

With MS-DOS running on over 150 million PCs, it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t always the international phenomenon it is today.

The arrival of the 16-bit IBM personal computer in 1981 set in motion a new era of computing, as the personal computer industry quickly left behind its early 8-bit days.

Within a few years, the industry would coalesce around two primary operating systems: Microsoft MS-DOS and the Apple Macintosh.

A transition of significant proportions -from mainframe to personal computing- was also underway, supported by the evolving de facto standards that were beginning to emerge in the PC marketplace.

The original IBM Personal Computer was actually introduced with several options in operating systems, including the CP/M-86 from Digital Research and the UCSD P-System. But the IBM PC represented a new platform for computing, which -like all shifts in this industry- offered a shift in the paradigm of computing and allowed for the creation of new products with new capabilities. Building on the core of a product acquired from Seattle Computer Products, Microsoft took advantage of the technology breakthroughs represented by the IBM PC and, in the evolving versions of MS-DOS, provided a foundation for an entire generation of computing.

After months of maniacal hours by developers, the IBM personal computer debuts with Microsoft’s Disk Operating System (MS-DOS). Other companies set out to clone this new hardware standard, negotiating with Microsoft for the rights to distribute MS-DOS (which IBM, under pressure from Bill Gates and company, has authorized). Because the clones are not strictly compatible, Microsoft creates a different MS-DOS for each machine. Newly incorporated Microsoft also rides the wave of the IBM PC with versions of BASIC, COBOL, and Pascal.
August 12, IBM introduces its Personal Computer, which uses Microsoft’s 16-bit operating system, MS-DOS 1.0, plus Microsoft BASIC, COBOL, PASCAL, and other Microsoft products.
After months of maniacal hours by developers, the IBM personal computer debuts with Microsoft’s Disk Operating System (MS-DOS). Other companies set out to clone this new hardware standard, negotiating with Microsoft for the rights to distribute MS-DOS (which IBM, under pressure from Bill Gates and company, has authorized). Because the clones are not strictly compatible, Microsoft creates a different MS-DOS for each machine. Newly incorporated Microsoft also rides the wave of the IBM PC with versions of BASIC, COBOL, and Pascal.

Steve Jobs of Apple visits Microsoft to give a sneak preview of the revolutionary Macintosh computer. Microsoft becomes the first major company to develop products for the Mac.

On June 25, 1981 Microsoft reorganizes into a privately held corporation with Bill Gates as President and Chairman of the Board, and Paul Allen as Executive Vice President. Microsoft becomes Microsoft, Inc., an incorporated business in the State of Washington.

Stats

Revenues: $16,000,000
Employees: 128

1982

The Microsoft Local Area Network (MILAN) is now fully functional, linking all of Microsoft’s in-house development computers including a DEC 2060, two PDP-11/70s, a VAX 11/250 and many MC68000 machines running XENIX. This system will simplify e-mail delivery on-site.

In its first 16 months on the market, MS-DOS is licensed to 50 hardware manufacturers, but there is never any guarantee that it will become an industry standard. While promoting MS-DOS and working on enhancements to it, Microsoft also expands its international focus, opening Microsoft Ltd. In England, thus building the first truly global personal computer software company. Plus, Microsoft moves into the realm of business applications with the introduction of Multiplan, an electronic spreadsheet program.

June 28, Microsoft announces a new corporate logo, new packaging, and a comprehensive set of retail dealer support materials. The new logo for Microsoft Corporation, dubbed the “Blibbet,” will be officially launched at Fall/COMDEX ’82. The logo design is the name, Microsoft, with a distinctive letter “o” filled with horizontal lines.

A prototype Macintosh arrives at Microsoft to aid in development of applications for it.

On June 25, 1982, James Towne, 39, was appointed president and chief operating officer of Microsoft (July 6 1982 — June 20 1983). In July, Towne took over all operating responsibilities from Bill Gates. Previously, Towne had been vice president and general manager of the instrument division at Tektronix Inc.

Stats

A Market Explodes
Revenues: $24,486,000
Employees: 220

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1983

An essential decision in the early development of MS-DOS was to make it an open system, designed to run on multiple computers.

To stretch memory beyond the original 640K limits of the Intel 8086 chip set, Lotus, Intel, and Microsoft introduced the LIM/EMS standard for expanding memory.

Although competition grew fierce in the languages market -especially with the arrival of fire-sale-priced Borland Turbo Pascal at $49- Microsoft continued overall to be the industry leader in languages. Microsoft BASIC was enhanced and became GW-BASIC (for “gee-whiz”), used for everything from specialized programs to “quick-and-dirty” coding. The company also helped move the high-end market (where customers included several of our direct competitors) from Pascal to C with the release of the Microsoft C programming language.

The proliferation of systems running MS-DOS helped simplify software development and provided consumers with a single platform available across a wide range of feature sets and price points, helping to spark the growth of the entire industry.

If you wanted to test a new machine for IBM compatibility, one of the standard programs you’d run would be Microsoft Flight Simulator, a true-to-life simulation of what it’s like to pilot a plane, developed in cooperation with Bruce Artwick of SubLogic. Flight Simulator logged in more than one million copies in a decade, making it a genuine highflyer.

Not even Microsoft bet the entire company on MS-DOS alone. The company also developed the XENIX operating system, a UNIX derivative designed to bring its multiuser capabilities to personal computers, announced in 1980. While the multiuser PC market was smaller, XENIX was still a relative success, outpacing all other versions of UNIX by a wide margin. Later Microsoft transferred its rights to XENIX to The Santa Cruz Operation.

The Microsoft Multiplan spreadsheet, the company’s first application product, was ported across many different types of computers -a major issue in the early days of MS-DOS, when “IBM compatible” could mean anything from “will run the program” to “can read IBM disks but probably not do much more”. While Lotus 1-2-3 surpassed Multiplan in domestic markets, Multiplan was the winner in almost every other country in which it appeared, helping to lay the groundwork for Microsoft’s strong international presence.

 

Introduced in 1983 and costing $800, the Tandy/Radio Shack PC Model 100 redefined the concept of portability in personal computing. It included built-in text editing, spreadsheet, and communications programs. Microsoft worked closely with Tandy in the definition and development of the machine.

Hard disks started to become standard equipment on computers with the introduction of a 10-MB hard disk as an available option with the IBM PC XT.

September 29, While most customers still think of Microsoft as a technically oriented systems/language company, two products form this year set the groundwork that will eventually change the public’s perspective of the company: Microsoft Word for MS-DOS 1.00
PC World subscribers receive a free demonstration floppy disk of Microsoft Word in the magazine’s special Software Review. “This is the first time in the history of publishing that a magazine has featured a floppy-disk bind-in,” said David Bunnell, Publisher of PC World.

November 10, Microsoft unveils Microsoft Windows, an extension of the MS-DOS operating system that provides a graphical operating environment. Windows features a window management capability that allows a user to view unrelated application programs simultaneously. It also provides the capability to transfer data from one application program to another.

Word is significant for its WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) design, though WYSIWYG at the time means little more than on-screen italics, bold, and underline. Even so, Word produces output far superior to any other product of its kind to date. Windows is significant in providing a graphical interface for users of MS-DOS.

May 2, Microsoft introduces the Microsoft Mouse, a low-cost, hand-held pointing device for use with the IBM PC, as well as, any MS-DOS-based personal computer. The Mouse is used to quickly move or reposition a cursor on the screen. Two buttons are provided to select decision alternatives or commands from the screen.

 

December1, Microsoft announces that MSX-DOS, an 8-bit disk operating system for MSX microcomputers, will be available to 14 Japanese and one U.S. micro manufacturers next January. MSX-DOS is CP/M-80 2.2 compatible and runs all Microsoft’s 8-bit software including the languages BASIC, COBOL-80, and FORTRAN-80, and Multiplan.

Presidents

  • February 18, 1983 Paul Allen resigns as Microsoft’s Executive Vice President, but remains on the Board of Directors.
  • June 20, 1983. James Towne resignes as COO
  • August 1, 1983 Microsoft announces that Jon Shirley, 45, has joined Microsoft as President and Chief Operating Officer and will be on the board from August 1, to June 30,. He is replacing James Towne. Shirley was previously with the Tandy Corporation

In August 1983, Jon Shirley, 45, joined Microsoft as president, chief operating officer and director. Prior to Microsoft, Shirley was vice president of computer merchandising at Tandy Corp. and had held a variety of positions in sales, merchandising, manufacturing and international operations. At Microsoft, Shirley provided the young company with the professional business acumen needed to steer it through the birth of the Windows operating system, the move to the Redmond campus and the initial public offering.

  • Augus, in addition to his role as chairman of the board, Bill Gates assumed the title of executive vice president, responsible for all development activities.

 

Stats

Revenues: $50,065,000
Employees: 476
After recovering from a serious illness, Paul Allen leaves Microsoft to explore a variety of other pursuits – from technically oriented companies to the Portland Trailblazers basketball team.

International

Subsidiaries open in the three major European markets: France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. They are charged with selling into and developing the European market as a whole.

APAC region established with purchase of Wiser Laboratories Pty, Ltd. of Australia, giving us direct distribution in the region. First Microsoft e-mail message sent internationally. International head count at year’s end: 42.

1984

January 24, Microsoft takes a leading role in developing software for the Apple Macintosh computer. The company ships Microsoft BASIC and Microsoft Multiplan simultaneously with the introduction of the Macintosh. Microsoft also announces that Word, Chart, and File will ship soon.
Microsoft’s original software development work for Macintosh was code-named “SAND” for “Steve’s Amazing New Device”.

Recognizing early the limitations of the closed design of the Macintosh system, Microsoft for a while marketed MacEnhancer, which provided the ability to plug non-Apple printers, modems, and other devices into the Mac. Although Apple itself would eventually change its product design to allow the same kinds of capabilities, the MacEnhancer never took off.

Bill Gates attended the introduction of the Apple Macintosh computer on January 20, 1984, and appeared in the original Macintosh brochure standing alongside Mitch Kapor of Lotus and Fred Gibbons of Software Publishing.

SAND was a fitting tribute to Apple’s Steve Jobs, who oversaw the Macintosh project. Excited by the possibilities of a commercially viable machine with a graphical user interface, Microsoft made an early and major commitment to Macintosh development and has consistently been among the most successful of all software companies in development for the Macintosh marketplace. The company shipped two products -BASIC and Multiplan- on the same day the Macintosh was introduced, followed closely by Word, Chart, and File.

Originally explored in the 1960’s and 1970’s at the Stanford Research Institute and at Xerox PARC in Palo Alto, California, graphical user interfaces began to appear in commercial systems in the early 1980’s. Xerox itself was among the first, with its Star system. Apple introduced both Lisa (“Local Integrated System Architecture”) and Macintosh computers. But these early systems were hampered by hardware constraints and too slow to satisfy many of the early, inflated user expectations.

The Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for the Macintosh not only advanced the state of the art in a way that re-enthused the dwindling customer base for the Macintosh, but also provided the essential technology basis for the Windows versions of Microsoft Excel a few years later, which reset the counter for the spreadsheet industry on the PC-compatible platform.

Microsoft has the software for it

Having worked closely with Apple during the development of the Macintosh, Microsoft is positioned to be the leading developer of applications for the machine, offering BASIC, Multiplan, File, Word, and Chart. Organizationally, Microsoft separates its systems and applications groups and creates a hardware and peripherals division. Work continues on Windows, but May, September, and year-end dates all slip as product definition and development go through constant evolutions and reevaluations.

March 22, Microsoft Press introduces its first two titlesCary Lu’s “The Apple Macintosh Book,” and Peter Norton’s “Exploring the IBM PCjr Home Computer,”at the 1984 West Coast Computer Faire.

April 1, Microsoft announces the creation of a new Hardware and Peripherals Division under the direction of William Roland. This division will be dedicated to developing and marketing hardware products that complement Microsoft’s software product line.

July 31, Microsoft announces a new Key Dealer Program designed to generate corporate sales in major U.S. markets. The dealers will provide their corporate clients with comprehensive post-sales training and support.

August 14, Microsoft announces that IBM has chosen Microsoft XENIX and MS-DOS for its new generation personal computer, the IBM PC AT. The new PC sets a standard in multi-user systems by endorsing XENIX. In addition, IBM continues to support MS-DOS. Both operating systems support the Intel APX-286(80286) microprocessors chosen for the new IBM microcomputer.

September 24, Microsoft announces that Francis J. Gaudette is joining Microsoft as Vice President of Finance and Administration. In his new position as Chief Financial and Administrative Officer Gaudette will report directly to Jon Shirley, President.

Stats
Mac Attack
Revenues: $97,479,000
Employees: 608
Microsoft Press, a one-year-old division, introduces its first books: Cary Lu’s The Apple Macintosh Book and Peter Norton’s Exploring the IBM PCjr Home Computer.

International

The number-one selling software product in France is Microsoft Multiplan (French version, naturellement).

Microsoft links its campus-wide e-mail system to all Microsoft subsidiaries. Frank Gaudette is hired as chief financial officer.

1985

Pronounced “gooey”, a GUI, or graphical user interface, enables users to connect with their computers in an interactive, intuitive way.

Seeing early the limitations of character-based interfaces and recognizing that advances in hardware performance would make possible a shift in the computing paradigm to a graphical user interface, Microsoft began development of Windows in the early 1980’s.

The result? The most popular user interface in the history of computing, now running on more than 75 million machines worldwide. And still growing by millions of new users every month.

A wide selection of mini-applications shipped as part of the original Windows package, including:

  • MS-DOS Executive
    Calendar
    Cardfile
    Notepad
    Terminal
    Calculator
    Clock
    Reversi (a strategy game)
    Control Panel
    PIF (Program Information File) Editor
    Print Spooler
    Clipboard
    RAMDrive
    Windows Write
    Windows Paint

From the Start, Windows was designed to work seamlessly with the Microsoft Mouse. But the desire to make the program usable by the broadest base of users determined that Windows would also be controllable via keyboard commands.

“Windows will instantly deliver you a more productive present. And a leap into the future.” [From original Windows advertising]

Real-world metaphors -such as toolbars, menus, and icons- help the user understand the computer on human terms.
Character-based technology was simple but it could be fast, because to the computer the screen appeared as a small character grid, typically 80-by-25 blocks of pixels (and the original PC even had a 40-character mode, displayable on a television). Graphical interfaces demand more computing horsepower because the computer must control every single pixel individually instead of in blocks -a VGA screen, for example, sets up a 640-by-480 grid, or more that 300,000 individual pixels.
Although it exceeded the company’s internal expectations, Windows 1.0 was more a critical success than a commercial one. Nevertheless, it set Microsoft firmly on the path to graphical user interfaces and committed the company to an industry leadership role in the definition of what a GUI should be.
Many early customers of Windows were more interested in its task-switching capabilities -the ability to work with more that one program at a time- than in its graphical features.

Microsoft celebrates its tenth anniversary by shipping the first retail version of the Windows graphical environment. Cost in the U.S. is $99. But there are no more than a handful of programs that run on Windows, so market acceptance is slow. This, coupled with Macintosh sales that are stuck in a holding pattern, leads some industry observers to wonder if graphical user interfaces are really as inevitable as Microsoft is predicting. Apple Macintosh sales begin to pick up after Microsoft Excel for the Macintosh is premiered at Tavern on the Green in New York.

August 12, Microsoft celebrates its 10th anniversary with sales figures for the fiscal year of 1985 of $140 million. The company has 900 employees and a diverse product line including industry standards like operating systems, languages, business software, hardware, and computer “how-to” books.

September 3, Microsoft announces that it has selected the Republic of Ireland as the site of its first production facility outside the U.S. The Ireland facility, located at Sandyford, County Dublin, will be a Duplication and Distribution Center for Microsoft software products to be sold in the European market.

November 20, Microsoft announces the retail shipment of Microsoft Windows, an operating system, which extends the features of the DOS operating system. Windows provides users with the ability to work with several programs at the same time and easily switch between them without having to quit and restart individual applications.

Stats

Revenues: $140,417,000
Employees: 910

Microsoft ships its one-millionth unit of Multiplan.

International

Ireland selected as the location of first production facility outside the United States. Manufacturing processes pioneered at the Dublin site are later imported to U.S. production facilities.

Microsoft builds its first overseas manufacturing facility in Ireland.

 

1986

In 1986 the company introduced Microsoft Works, which integrated word processing, spreadsheet, database, communications, and drawing functions into a single program.

SCSI (Small Computer Systems Interface) specification is accepted as an ANSI standard to become yet another acronym to add to your list. Pronounced “scuzzy”, the specification is defined to allow printers, disk drives, and other peripherals the ability to distribute data independent of their host, allowing the computer to be freed up for more user-oriented tasks. Soon to follow is the concept of the SCSI “chain” where several peripherals are connected to one SCSI host adapter taking up only one slot in the computer.
This may sound somewhat complicated, but before SCSI the computer had to “learn” quite a bit about any peripheral you planned to attach and keeping up with current technology was a hopeless endeavor. With SCSI, minimal hardware and software engineering is necessary for new system designs and integration.
By adopting this standard, hardware manufacturers were able to create brand new products that didn’t sacrifice compatibility with existing computers

March 13, Motivated by a desire to provide value to an increasing number of employee shareholders, Microsoft stock goes public at $21.00 per share, rising to $28.00 per share by the end of the first trading day. Initial public offering raises $61 million.

The company holds its first International Conference on CD-ROM technology.

February 26, During that same busy March, Microsoft moves to its new four-building corporate campus Buildings 1 through 4, in Redmond. surrounding “Lake Bill” in Redmond, Washington. As if that isn’t enough, the company holds its first International Conference on CD-ROM technology.

Opening of Microsoft de Mexico is a double first: the first Latin American subsidiary for Microsoft and the first office established anywhere in Latin America by a U.S. software company.

Though IBM in the year 1917 – then still called Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company – already opened an office in Brasil, nearly 70 years earlier. (4) IBM then was not a software company.

December31, Microsoft announces that, at the end of 1986, Microsoft employees number 1,442. 1,162 are employed domestically, and 280 are employed internationally.

Microsoft receives the 1986 Washington State Governor’s Export Award in the service firm category.

Microsoft Works, an integrated program with word processor, spreadsheet, database, and communications modules, is introduced for the Macintosh.

Stats

Revenues: $197,514,000
Employees: 1,442

International

Opening of Microsoft de Mexico is a double first: the first Latin American subsidiary for Microsoft and the first office established anywhere in Latin America by a U.S. software company.

1987

While the huge commercial success of Windows was still one version away, Microsoft Windows version 2.0 introduced a host of important technical advances.

“Save the Blibbet!” A year of firsts -first Windows application, first CD-ROM, first appearance of a new logo

Unlike the hyphen in Micro-soft that quietly faded away, some employees don “Save the Blibbet” buttons in support of the old Microsoft logo when the new one is introduced. The Blibbet, however, is memorialized only by the “Blibbet Burger” sold by the Marriott grills on campus. Microsoft and IBM announce a joint development agreement for OS/2 and release OS/2 version 1.0. Rather than adopting Windows, IBM insists on developing Presentation Manager, a separate graphical interface. Microsoft releases Microsoft Excel for Windows -its first application for the Windows operating system- and continues to explore new technologies shipping its first CD-ROM product: Bookshelf, a reference collection.

April 2, Microsoft announces Microsoft Operating System/2 (MS OS/2) a new personal computer operating system. It has been designed and developed specifically to harness the capabilities of personal computers based upon the Intel 80286 and 80386 microprocessors. It is planned for phased release to OEMs in the fourth quarter of 1987. This is the first product to be announced as a result of the Joint Development Agreement between IBM and Microsoft announced in August, 1985.

April 2, Microsoft announces Microsoft Windows 2.0, offering compatibility with existing Windows applications and a new visual appearance compatible with Microsoft OS/2 Presentation Manager. In addition to the new visual appearance, it uses a system of overlapping windows, rather than tiled windows. Windows 2.0 also includes significant performance enhancements and improved support for expanded memory hardware.

March 24, Microsoft combines it End-User and OEM support services into a single Product Support Services group in order to serve customers more effectively.

July 30, Microsoft announces that it has completed an agreement to acquire Forethought, Inc., an applications software company. Forethought develops and markets PowerPoint, a leading desktop presentation application, and is the exclusive distributor of FileMaker Plus, a top-selling database for Apple Macintosh systems. Under the agreement, Forethought becomes Microsoft’s Graphics Business Unit which will be headed by Robert Gaskins.

September August 87 Microsoft announces the shipment of its first CD-ROM application, Microsoft Bookshelf, a collection of 10 of the most popular and useful reference works on a single CD-ROM disk. Bookshelf is the first general purpose application to bring the benefits of CD-ROM technology to personal computer users.

October 6, Microsoft announces Microsoft Excel for Windows. This first Windows application offers interactive, dynamic linking of sheets; one-step, automatic macro re-order; and sophisticated, high-resolution printed output. It also contains a completely integrated, on-sheet database management, and easily customizable graphs. Excel will run under Microsoft Windows 2.0 and Windows/386 at shipment, and will be available for OS/2 shortly thereafter.

Microsoft introduces LAN Manager, a LAN operating system that runs on both MS-DOS and OS/2.

Stats
Revenues: $345,890,000
Employees: 1,816
Windows 286 and Windows 386 are announces.

International

Microsoft Ireland ships its one millionth package. Arabic version of MS-DOS is introduced. International head count at year’s end: 460.

 

1988

January 13, Microsoft and Ashton-Tate announce the Microsoft SQL Server, a relational database server software product for Local Area Networks (LANs). It is based on a field-proven relational database management system licensed by Microsoft from Sybase, Inc., and enhanced with technology from Microsoft and database technology from Ashton-Tate. First shipment is planned in the second half of 1988.

The Business Software Association is formed to combat software piracy. Computer virus by 23-year-old hacker infects more than 6,000 computers on the Internet. Installed base for MS-DOS reaches 30 million users.

Microsoft and IBM announce the delivery of the jointly developed Operating System/2 (OS/2) 1.1 with Presentation Manager. Presentation Manager is the graphical user interface (GUI) for the OS/2 operating system. This is the second major release of the Standard Edition of OS/2.

Microsoft becomes the top software vendor, and never looks back…

By only a small edge, Microsoft surpasses rival Lotus Development Corporation as the top software vendor. Microsoft hires Mike Maples from IBM to provide direction in the applications division. Maples reorganizes the group into five business units: graphics, analysis, data access, office, and entry. In another key business move, Microsoft’s manufacturing and distribution division moves to a 260,000 square-foot facility -Canyon Park- in Bothell, Washington. To keep the ever-increasing number of customers happy and productive, the company establishes a new Product Support Services facility, handling more than 1,000,000 calls per month.

April August 88 Microsoft moves into the new Manufacturing and Distribution site in Canyon Park, in Bothell. The 245,000 sq. ft. facility houses not only Manufacturing staff, but the Warehouse and Distribution staffs which used to be at Parmac. Fulfillment and Export are also now located at Microsoft Campus North.

June 14, Microsoft appoints Mike Maples Vice President of the Applications Software Division. He will report to Jon Shirley, President.

Microsoft sells its one-millionth Mouse.

Stats
Revenues: $590,827,000
Employees: 2,793
Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard are sued by Apple Corporation. Apple alleges copyright infringement.

International

International operations make up 48 percent of Microsoft’s annual sales. International Products Group (IPG) is set up in Ireland; Ireland ships it two millionth package.

1989

June 5, Microsoft announces the formation of the Multimedia Division, dedicated to the development and marketing of multimedia systems software and consumer products. The division will be headed by Min Yee, Vice President. Yee will also continue as Publisher of Microsoft Press. He will report to Jon Shirley, President.

August 1, Microsoft announces that The Microsoft Office will soon be available on CD-ROM. This is the first general business software for Macintosh systems to be made available on CD-ROM.

The first edition of Microsoft Office is released, on both standard disks and CD-ROM.

No one had predicted the lightning growth of Microsoft –we had expected the original four buildings to provide enough room for five years or more. But by 1989, Microsoft occupies almost the entire business park at the current site, a fact recognized by renaming it “Microsoft Place” and establishing “One Microsoft Way” as the official corporate address. The company now reaches far beyond the confines of the Redmond campus, with international operations accounting for more than half of annual sales. The consumer division is reestablished. Company president Jon Shirley announces his pending retirement.

IBM and Microsoft Expand Partnership

November 13, Microsoft and IBM broaden the scope of their development agreement by agreeing to jointly develop a consistent, full range of systems software offerings for the 1990s. These software offerings will include enhancements to MS-DOS, Microsoft OS/2, and Microsoft LAN (local area network) products, which will work with the Intel 386 and 486 microprocessors.

December27, Microsoft announces that Jon Shirley will retire as President and Chief Operating Officer on June 30, 1990. Shirley, who has been President since August, 1983, will continue to play a role in the management of the Company both as a member of the Board of Directors, and as a consultant for strategic projects.

Stats
Revenues: $804,530,000
Employees: 4,037
Microsoft Word for Windows begins shipping.    

International

Microsoft European Headquarters (EHQ) opens in Paris. International operations increase to 55 percent of annual sales.

The first edition of Microsoft Office is released, on both standard disks and CD-ROM.

Microsoft employees give $1 million to United Way.

Microsoft buys a minority share in The Santa Cruz Operation, the leading developer of UNIX.

1990

April 2, Microsoft announces the appointment of Michael R. Hallman as Company President and Chief Operating Officer. He replaces Jon Shirley who is retiring June 30, 1990. Hallman will also become a member of the Board of Directors. He was formerly with The Boeing Company.

April 9, Microsoft introduces Russian MS-DOS 4.01. MS-DOS is the first Microsoft product localized for the Soviet market. The Russian version brings the total number of foreign-language versions to 13, including versions in Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese (Kanji), and Korean (Hangeul).

Featuring a major redesign of its user interface, Microsoft Windows version 3.0 was a number-one hit almost from the first day it arrived.

More than four million copies of Windows were distributed in its first year, sparking the release of more than 1,200 Windows-based applications from other developers. Another six million copies sold the following year -bringing the installed base to more than 10 million- and total commercial applications reached 5,000. It was a phenomenon unlike anything the industry had ever seen.
A great graphical environment deserved a great colorful look. The Microsoft Windows logo, brought out as part of the version 3.0 introduction, became the standard by which customers identified the product. It appeared on products from Microsoft and other software companies, as well as on hardware products, identifying that they were “Ready to Run” Windows.
Along with Windows itself, Microsoft made a major commitment to updating its Windows-based applications, including Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. In 1991 the company achieved a major milestone, with more than half of all revenues coming from applications instead of systems products.
Two years after the introduction of Windows 3.0, the company provided a fresh update with Windows version 3.1, introduced at Windows World in May 1992. This newest version of Windows introduced hundreds of enhancements in areas such as file management and overall performance. The result? In just six weeks, the company shipped three million copies of the new version..
In view of the international acceptance of Windows, the company simultaneously introduced version 3.1 of Windows in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish.
The Visual Basic programming system for Windows gave developers -particularly in corporate environments- a fast and easy way to create graphical Windows-based applications. At Microsoft it was used for prototyping purposes in the new usability labs, allowing developers to quickly try out different implementations of possible features.

May 22, Microsoft announces the immediate, worldwide availability of Microsoft Windows 3.0, at the City Center Theatre in New York. This version offers dramatic performance increases for Windows applications, advances in ease of use and aesthetic appeal, and straightforward integration into corporate computing environments.

“Windows, Windows, Windows,” as Steve Ballmer would say

Graphical computing begins to realize its full potential with the announcement of Windows 3.0 at a major New York event on May 22. Supported by the largest single marketing campaign in the company’s history -more than $10 million over a six-month period- Windows 3.0 sells 100,000 copies in two weeks. Steve Ballmer excites everyone at the company meeting with a continual chant of “Windows, Windows, Windows.” (His enthusiasm damages his vocal cords, but Steve is only silenced temporarily.) With revenues reaching $1.18 billion, Microsoft becomes the first software company to exceed the $1 billion sales mark -a fitting celebration for the company’s fifteenth anniversary. Mike Hallman joins Microsoft as president.

July 25, Kicking off its 15th anniversary celebration, Microsoft, with revenues of $1.18 billion, becomes the first personal computer software company to exceed $1 billion in sales in a single year.

August 30, Microsoft announces the formation of a Consulting Services Group aimed at helping large corporate customers better use Microsoft products to build complex information systems. The group, Information Technology Integration Services (ITIS), is headed by Robert McDowell. The group’s initial offerings will include: executive education, planning, design, custom development, and systems and applications support. (The group is later renamed Microsoft Consulting Services.)

September 17, Microsoft launches the Microsoft Windows Computing Marketing Program, the largest single marketing campaign in the Company’s history to date.

November 12, Bill Gates unveils his vision of the future of computing in his keynote address,”Information at Your Fingertips,”at Fall/COMDEX ’90.

Presidents

  • June 30, 1990 Shirley retires from Microsoft on , but continue to play a role in the management of the company, both as a member of the board of directors and as a consultant for strategic projects. Shirley still remains on the board of directors.
  • March 19, 1990, Michael R. Hallman, 44, is appointed president and chief operating officer, replacing Jon Shirley. Hallman, who joined Microsoft as president three months before Shirley’s retirement, also becomes a member of the board of directors. Halman will serve Microsoft from April 2, — March 1/92. Prior to Microsoft, Hallman spent two and a half years as president of Computer Services at The Boeing Co., where he was responsible for a staff of 13,000 and all of Boeing’s computing and communications systems. Before joining Boeing, Hallman spent 20 years at IBM, where he held a variety of executive positions.

Stats

Revenues: $1,183,446,000
Employees: 5,635
Bill Gates demonstrates his vision of the future of computing with an interactive keynote address, “Information at Your Fingertips,” at Fall COMDEX.

International

Microsoft adds distributors in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia. MS-DOS 4.01 is the first product localized for the Soviet market. Thirteen foreign-language versions of MS-DOS are now available.

Opening of Far East Research and Development Center in Japan.

The new Advanced Technology group is established for research and product development.

The Federal Trade Commission begins investigating Microsoft for possible anti-trust violations.

 

1991

The Incredible Shrinking PC

The age of the “luggable” comes to an end as computer systems size and weight decrease. 

The computer industry continues to reflect Moore’s law and the components used in computers grow smaller, are less costly and their overall performance improves. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are able to put almost the same power of current processor speeds, storage capacities and other features found only in desktop PC designs into portable lines of products. Most PC manufacturers introduce notebook PCs and now a wide range of model choices are available to users.

A worldwide phenomenon is underway Personal computer users begin adopting Windows in large numbers -in just one year, Microsoft ships four million copies of Windows 3.0 to 24 countries in 12 languages. Hardware manufacturers include Windows as standard equipment on their computers, as part of the Windows Ready-to-Run program. And Microsoft’s hardware group benefits as well, with the Microsoft Mouse selling six million units. The company also returns to its language roots with the announcement of Microsoft Visual Basic, which wins an award for technical excellence from PC Magazine.

1/9/91 Microsoft announces the availability of Microsoft Excel for Windows 3.0. It also announces Microsoft Excel for the Macintosh 3.0 and Excel for OS/2 Presentation Manager which are expected to ship in the next few months.

3/11/91 Microsoft announces the Microsoft BallPoint Mouse, designed especially for use with laptop computers. This mouse represents the culmination of more than two-and-a-half years of development, and incorporates both mouse and trackball technology in a new category of pointing device.

3/18/91 Microsoft announces that it has purchased a 26 percent share of Dorling Kindersley, Ltd., a London-based book publisher and international packager. As part of the agreement, the Microsoft Multimedia Publishing Group gains the rights to license content from Dorling Kindersley for use in future Microsoft multimedia software titles.

5/20/91 Microsoft announces Microsoft Visual BASIC for Windows at Windows World ’91 in Atlanta. It is a graphical application development system for Windows 3.0 that combines visual design tools with a powerful, general-purpose programming language and Windows .EXE compiler. French and German versions are expected to ship in August, with other foreign versions to follow.

11/14/91 Microsoft announces the Multimedia Edition of Microsoft Works for Windows 2.0. This is the first business productivity application from Microsoft to incorporate multimedia. This CD-ROM version adds digital sound, animation, and pictures to the Online Tutorial to make it easy for new users to learn the capabilities of Works.

Microsoft acquires an interest in Dorling Kindersley, the British publisher whose library of striking photographic images can be adapted for use in multimedia products.

Stats
Revenues: $1,843,432,000
Employees: 8,226
MS-DOS 5.0-the first version of MS-DOS featuring a retail upgrade-ships.

International

International operations reorganized: Europe divided into three regions, the rest of the world into four (Far East, Intercontinental, Latin America, and AIME). International headcount at year’s end: 2,866.

Microsoft Excel 3.0 ships simultaneously for Windows, OS/2, and Macintosh, the first Microsoft product to ship across platforms this way.

Microsoft acquires an interest in Dorling Kindersley, the British publisher whose library of striking photographic images can be adapted for use in multimedia products

1992

Digital Equipment Corporation announces a new architecture with its RISC based ALPHA processor. Designed to accelerate high end graphics functions, the Alpha sets a new precedent for processor power.

2/3/92 With the departure of Mike Hallman, Microsoft creates an “Office of the President” headed by three executive vice presidents: Steve Ballmer, worldwide sales and support; Frank Gaudette, worldwide operations; and Mike Maples, worldwide products. Windows continues to roll, with releases of Windows 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups. The company launches its first television advertising campaign. To bolster its presence in the database market, Microsoft merges with Fox Software, Inc.

3/1/92 Microsoft announces that Michael Hallman is stepping down as the President of Microsoft and as a member of the Board of Directors. He will become a consultant to the Company. His position is filled by the newly created three-member “Office of the President.”

3/1/92 Microsoft kicks off its first-ever television advertising campaign. The TV ads are designed to demonstrate the benefits of Windows-based computing to a new, broader audience. The campaign was developed by the Ogilvy & Mather Agency in Los Angeles.

3/24/92 Microsoft and Fox Software Inc. of Perrysburg, Ohio, announce that they intend to merge the two companies. Under the terms of the letter of intent, Microsoft will exchange approximately 1.36 million shares of its common stock for all of the outstanding stock of Fox Software.

4/6/92 Microsoft ships Microsoft Windows 3.1 with over 1,000 enhancements. The new version created unprecedented user demand with over one million advance orders placed worldwide. To help customers, Microsoft has trained thousands of resellers and has in place more than 500 product support personnel

4/27/92 Microsoft announces that its Board of Directors has approved a 3-for-2 stock split. Shareholders will receive one additional share for every two Microsoft shares held on the record date of June 3, 1992. Cash will be paid in lieu of the issuance of any fractional shares.

6/23/92 President George Bush awards Bill Gates the National Medal of Technology for Technological Achievement, at a White House Rose Garden ceremony. The President recognizes Gates “for his early vision of universal computing at home and in the office; for his technical and business management skills in creating a worldwide technology company; and for his contribution to the development of the personal computing industry.”

 

10/27/92 Microsoft announces the worldwide availability of Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.1 which integrates networking and workgroup functionality directly into Windows 3.1. The product allows common activities of sending electronic mail, scheduling group meetings, sharing files and printers, managing calendars, and working together on groups projects. It can provide networking capabilities on its own, or it can be used as a client on an existing local area network.

11/11/92 Microsoft announces that the Microsoft Windows NT beta program is shipping to corporations for system evaluation. Also, the Win32 Software Development Kit (SDK) for Windows NT, which includes the same beta code plus additional development tools, is being delivered to developers.

11/16/92 Microsoft announces the immediate availability of Microsoft Access Database for Windows, at Fall/COMDEX ’92. The new, fully-featured and fully relational DBMS provides easy, transparent access to data; powerful, usability-tested tools; and a robust development environment.

Presidents

  • On Feb. 3, 1992, Michael Hallman announces that he is stepping down as the president of Microsoft and as a member of the board of directors, effective March 1, 1992. He continues as a consultant to the company.
  • On March 1, 1992 The Office of the President (3/1/92 — 12/96), which reported directly to Bill Gates, filled Hallman’s vacant position. The Office of the President was filled by three existing executive vice presidents:

* Steven A. Ballmer, formerly senior vice president, systems software
* Francis J. Gaudette, formerly senior vice president, finance and administration, and chief financial officer
* Michael J. Maples, formerly senior vice president, applications division

Stats
Revenue: $2,758,725,000
Employees: 11,542
Microsoft Windows for Workgroups wins an award for technical excellence from PC Magazine.

International

Word 2.0 for Windows is offered in 22 languages.

1993

The number of licensed users of Windows now totals more than 25 million, making Windows the most popular graphical operating system in the world.

1/1/93 Microsoft announces the 10th anniversary of Microsoft Word, which first shipped for MS-DOS in 1983, on the Macintosh platform in 1984, and on the Windows platform in 1989. Based on data recently released by Dataquest, Inc. there are now more than 10 million Word users worldwide.

1/27/93 Microsoft announces that it has introduced a new product support program, Microsoft Select, designed to make it easier for large organizations to acquire and maintain Microsoft products. The program offers flexible new product acquisition, licensing, and maintenance options.

3/22/93 Microsoft announces the availability of Microsoft Encarta, the first multimedia encyclopedia designed for a computer. The product contains a high-quality collection of articles, animations, sounds, illustrations, graphs, and photographs, as well as, an atlas and interactive timeline all on a single CD-ROM.

3/30/93 Microsoft introduces and announces the availability of Microsoft MS-DOS 6.0 Upgrade. This version has integrated data compression, called DoubleSpace, which can safely and easily double the PC’s available disk space, free conventional memory, protect data from viruses and accidental deletions, and increase performance.

3/30/93 Microsoft announces five new multimedia titles at the Intermedia Conference in San Jose. Shown for the first time are: Microsoft Dinosaurs; Multimedia Mozart: The Dissonant Quartet; Multimedia Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring; Microsoft Musical Instruments for the Macintosh; and Microsoft Bookshelf, 1993 Edition on CD-ROM.

4/14/93 Microsoft reports that the number of licensed users of Microsoft Windows now totals more than 25 million, making it the most popular graphical operating system in the world.

4/27/93 Microsoft announces the immediate availability of Microsoft Mouse 2.0, with a sophisticated new ergonometric design for maximum comfort. The new Mouse is equally effective for both right- and left-handed users. It includes the enhanced-performance driver software 9.0, which ensures full compatibility and reliability with Microsoft Windows 3.1 and MS-DOS.

5/24/93 Microsoft formally launches Microsoft Windows NT at Windows World in Atlanta. Windows NT delivers a powerful, reliable and open platform for client-server solutions – business applications ranging from inventory management to sales automation to financial analysis. It can also scale to meet the user’s increasing processing needs because it has no internal system constraints on resources and provides consistent support for Intel, RISC and multiprocessor systems. It is scheduled to be released in 60 days.

Designed for mission-critical corporate applications, Microsoft Windows NT is launched, winning an award for technical excellence from PC Magazine.

Microsoft also announces Microsoft Home, a complete line of inexpensive, easy-to-use software products for personal use. Judge Vaughn Walker rules in favor of Microsoft in the Apple vs. Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard copyright suit, the closing of an important chapter after 63 months of litigation.

Microsoft introduces a better mouse, code named “Carrera.”

6/1/93 Microsoft announces that Judge Vaughn R. Walker of the U.S. District Court of Northern California ruled today in Microsoft’s favor in the Apple vs. Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard copyright suit. The judge granted Microsoft’s and Hewlett-Packard’s motions to dismiss the last remaining copyright infringement claims against Microsoft Windows 2.03 and 3.0, as well as, the HP NewWave.

7/6/93 Microsoft announces that it has become an official member of the EPA’s Ally program to promote energy-efficient computer systems. Microsoft currently ships software to enhance energy efficiency, and continues to conduct additional energy-efficient research.

11/8/93 Microsoft ships Windows for Workgroups 3.11. This new version has already gained major support from more than 30 top OEM systems manufacturers worldwide. It has improved support for Novell NetWare and Windows NT; I/O performance gains of more than 100 percent; and new capabilities for mobile computing, such as remote access and built-in fax capabilities.

12/6/93 Microsoft is named the “1993 Most Innovative Company Operating in the U.S.” by Fortune Magazine, as part of its Fifth Annual Study of America’s Best Cities for Business.

12/7/93 Microsoft announces its first software products designed especially for children: Creative Writer and Fine Artist>. Combining full-featured tool sets, lively characters and offbeat humor, these products have been designed to inspire and stimulate children’s natural creativity in writing and art with many engaging project ideas.

 

Stats
Revenue: $3,752,701,000
Employees: 14,430
The number of licensed users of Windows now totals more than 25 million, making Windows the most popular graphical operating system in the world.

International

Microsoft Windows version 3.1 now available in Japanese.

1994

Microsoft announces five new multimedia titles at the Intermedia Conference in San Jose. Shown for the first time are: Microsoft Dinosaurs; Multimedia Mozart: The Dissonant Quartet; Multimedia Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring; Microsoft Musical Instruments for the Macintosh; and Microsoft Bookshelf, 1993 Edition on CD-ROM.

Microsoft reports that the number of licensed users of Microsoft Windows now totals more than 25 million, making it the most popular graphical operating system in the world.

Microsoft Encarta Ships
Microsoft announces the availability of Microsoft Encarta, the first multimedia encyclopedia designed for a computer. The product contains a high-quality collection of articles, animations, sounds, illustrations, graphs, and photographs, as well as, an atlas and interactive timeline all on a single CD-ROM.

 

Microsoft products continue to evolve to keep up with how people work and live, and with what our customers demand from the constantly changing, constantly improving possibilities of technology.

As part of the continuing evolution of personal computer technology we and our industry have entered a new era of integration -in part by integrating different types of technology (e.g., sound, pictures, video, and text) in elaborate multimedia presentations as well as uniting formerly independent applications into powerful new combinations.

The first version of Microsoft Word came bundled with a Microsoft Mouse, but customers were not ready to adopt the mouse.

While Word offered advanced features and sophisticated output for its era, and the Mouse provided Point-and-click simplicity of use, the slow market reaction to the combination of the two products proved that this was definitely an idea ahead of its time.

To help spark interest in Word, Microsoft arranged for a demonstration version of the product to be bound into PC Magazine -the first “disk insert” ever by any company. Word was the first word processor to support laser printers when they arrived on the market, and it introduced a host of new features, such as style sheets and outlines.

By bringing together word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation programs, Microsoft created a new category: the office suite. The announcement of Microsoft Office for Macintosh on CD-ROM came on June 19, 1989; a Windows-based version followed in 1990. At first, some customers saw only the packaging as different. But there was a lot more going on -integrating the interface so these multiple applications really worked like one. The result? In less than two years, Microsoft Office represented more than half of the company’s total office applications sales. And Office itself grew to include Microsoft Office Professional, incorporating the Microsoft Access database.

With more than 60 titles available under the Microsoft Home brand, the company’s push into the consumer market takes off. Microsoft announces a merger with Intuit, developer of personal finance and tax preparation packages; the merger is not completed. The company also acquires SOFTIMAGE, Inc., the leading developer of computer animation software, whose programs helped bring dinosaurs to life in Jurassic Park

1/31/94 Microsoft announces Microsoft Plus, a product support program designed to increase users’ satisfaction with Microsoft and its products by offering them extended services, cost savings, and timely information.

4/18/94 Microsoft announces that Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.11 has become the world’s best selling retail operating system, edging Windows 3.1 into the No. 2 spot. Sales totaled just over 300,000 copies worldwide in January 1994. International success has led the way, with some European markets such as Sweden and the United Kingdom (U.K.) seeing more than 70 percent of their retail volume of Windows move to Windows for Workgroups 3.11.

4/25/94 The Lexmark WinWriter 600 laser printer, the first office device based on Microsoft At Work printing software, wins the CeBIT Highlight ’94 Award for the Top Product in the Printer category. Microsoft and Lexmark worked closely together to develop the WinWriter 600, which is making its European debut at CeBIT.

6/10/94 Microsoft announces the immediate availability of Microsoft Complete Baseball, a multimedia reference CD-ROM that details Baseball’s history, players, teams, season summaries, and statistics. This is the first multimedia CD-ROM program with an on-line feature, Microsoft Baseball Daily, that provides integrated, up-to-date information daily.

6/28/94 Microsoft completes the acquisition of SOFTIMAGE Inc., the leading developer of high-performance 2-D and 3-D computer animation and visualization software.

9/8/94 Microsoft announces that Microsoft Windows 95 is the official name for the next version of Windows, code-named “Chicago.” This name was chosen to make it easier for customers to identify the most current version of Microsoft Windows. It is a fully integrated 32-bit operating system replacing Windows 3.11, Windows for Workgroups 3.11, and MS-DOS as the mainstream desktop operating system.

11/8/94 Bob Herbold joins Microsoft as a new Executive Vice President and the Chief Operating Officer. In this position, he will serve as a member of the Office of the President and report directly to Bill Gates. He will be responsible for worldwide operations including, Finance, Manufacturing, Distribution, Logistics, Information Technology (ITG), Human Resources, Corporate Services, Real Estate and Development, and Microsoft Press. He was previously with The Procter & Gamble Company.

11/14/94 Microsoft debuts its new international advertising campaign, “Where Do You Want To Go Today,” at actor Robert DeNiro’s trendy SoHo restaurant in New York. Microsoft plans to spend $100 million on a global campaign to build brand awareness with a non-technical audience.

11/14/94 In a dramatic multimedia presentation entitled “Information At Your Fingertips – 2005,” Bill Gates calls the industry to action with a vision of how integrated technology solutions can improve the quality of life in the next decade. In his keynote address at Fall/COMDEX ’94, he presents a complete framework of how continued advancements in technology will increase consumer benefits and drive industry growth during the next ten years.

12/2/94 Wal-Mart is marketing Microsoft products on “power-aisles” in its stores during the Holiday season. The stores are featuring a special fixture – dubbed the Microsoft tower – containing 46 software programs and one piece of hardware, the Microsoft Mouse. The displays are placed in areas with the highest traffic, near checkout stands and in busy aisles, instead of the electronics section of the store. This is the first time that Microsoft software is being treated as an “impulse” buy item.

 

Stats

Revenues: $4,648,981,000
Employees: 15,257
Microsoft Office is the #1 product in its category, with sales of more than seven million units in little over one year.

International

Opening of Latin American office in Florida puts the business close to its customers and business partners.

1995

 

  After seven years with Microsoft, Mike Maples announces his retirement.
  Microsoft Internet Explorer takes full advantage of the advancement in Windows 95 to offer users easy access to the Internet and high performance. MSN(tm), The Microsoft Network online service, is launched. Bill Gates becomes a man of letters by authoring a twice-monthly newspaper column and publishing his first book, The Road Ahead, detailing how new technologies will guide the way we work, play, and live in the future. Microsoft and Intuit abandon their planned merger.
  Microsoft Project for Windows 95 9/18/95 Microsoft announces Microsoft Project for Windows 95. This new version, designed exclusively for Windows 95, greatly facilitates project communication throughout an organization, and includes improved workgroup functionality, full ODBC support and integration with Microsoft Office for Windows 95.
  Microsoft celebrates its 20th birthday
January 7 Bill Gates announces Microsoft Bob for Windows, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Bob is designed to provide the essential tools for home computing in eight interconnected programs that help users organize, communicate, and play with their computers. Bob, a social interface, includes an entirely new user-interface design and eight programs: Letter Writer, Calendar, Checkbook, Household Manager, Address Book, E-Mail, Financial Guide, and GeoSafari.
March 22 Microsoft and DreamWorks SKG announce that they have signed a joint-venture agreement to form a new software company designed to produce interactive and multimedia entertainment properties. Initially to be called DreamWorks Interactive, the newly formed company was announced jointly by Bill Gates and Patty Stonesifer, and DreamWorks principals Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffin. Microsoft and DreamWorks will each contribute 50 percent of the funding required to build the company. Separately, Microsoft announces that it will be a strategic investor and minority partner in DreamWorks SKG.
May 20 Microsoft and Intuit Inc. announce that they have agreed to terminate their planned merger. Rather than appeal and pursue months of litigation with the Justice Department at the trial and appellate court levels. These litigation delays would have followed the months of delay already caused by the Justice Department’s unusually lengthy Hart-Scott-Rodino Act review.
June 16 The U.S. Court of Appeals reinstates a 1994 antitrust settlement between Microsoft and the Justice Department that was rejected by U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin in February 1995. The court’s 26-page opinion delivers a harsh rebuke to the judge and grants Microsoft’s request to remove him from the case.
August 24 Microsoft announces the availability of Microsoft Windows 95, worldwide. To help celebrate the launch, NBC’s “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno is a featured guest at an industry event hosted by Bill Gates at the Redmond Corporate Campus, and viewed by Microsoft regional offices via satellite, as well as by PC users via a special Internet World Wide Web site.
August 24

 

Originally code-named “Chicago”, Windows 95 -the latest version of Windows- features a new user interface and a “plug and play” design that makes hardware setup automatic. When a customer upgrades to Windows 95, performance will meet or exceed performance of Windows 3.1. Windows 95 meets this performance goal by implementing new technologies to better optimize the use of memory of low-end system configurations. Although Microsoft had experimented in the early 1980’s with consumer products such as Typing Tutor and Olympic Decathlon, and even though Microsoft Flight Simulator found a consumer audience of more than one million people in a decade, until 1991 the company operated primarily in the business market, not the consumer market. But creation of the Consumer Division, coupled with the arrival of a new generation of content-oriented products, such as Art Gallery, Dinosaurs, and Cinemania, put the company firmly into the consumer business.
   
August 29 More than 1 million copies of Microsoft Windows 95 were obtained by customers at retail stores during the first four days of availability in North America. Sales of Microsoft Plus! have also exceeded expectations. Approximately 20,000 retail stores nationwide took part in the sales launch, which featured a variety of consumer promotions and sales events, that kicked off at 12:01 a.m. on August 24, 1995.
September 15 In honor of the company’s 20th anniversary, Microsoft celebrates with a series of activities over the next month, culminating with the Company Meeting in Seattle on October 12, 1995.

Microsoft 20th anniversary watch

September 18 Microsoft Museum opens to Microsoft employees. The museum features video kiosks and exhibits highlighting Microsoft’s culture, product development cycle, international presence, contributions to the community, and employee pranks. As they enter, visitors see a timeline marking events throughout history that led to the growth of the software industry and the creation of Microsoft. Following this exhibit is a Microsoft timeline that chronicles major events and landmarks in Microsoft history and a technology timeline that features the major hardware platforms for which Microsoft has developed software.
  Microsoft announces Microsoft SideWinder 3D Pro for MS-DOS and Windows 95, a digital-optical joystick designed specifically to enhance the way PC gamers play. Digital-optical technology gives SideWinder sensitivity and precise control. As an optical camera tracks the slightest movements, each position change is accurately and immediately rendered on screen. Microsoft will also offer SideWinder packaged with Activision’s MechWarrior 2 combat-simulation game.
September 20 The Chinese State Bureau of Technology Supervision (CSBTS) and the Chinese Ministry of Electronics Industry (MEI) announce that they have signed an agreement with Microsoft to standardize the Chinese version of Microsoft Windows 95 as the software development standard for The People’s Republic of China. The agreement is aimed at speeding the development of Chinese Windows 95 by expanding the scope of cooperation and strengthening the foundation of software development in the PRC.

 

October 2 Microsoft announces that is offering more than 30 titles of its family of Home software products for under $50 each, estimated street price, beginning October 1, 1995. Price changes affect both Windows- and Macintosh-based versions of products such as: Microsoft Cinemania, Encarta 96 Encyclopedia, Encarta 96 World Atlas, Fury 3, Golf, Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus, Music Central 96, and 3D Movie Maker. These are expected to run from $29.99 to $54.95, depending on the product.
October 17 Microsoft reports revenues of $2.02 billion for the first quarter of fiscal year 1996 which ended September 30, 1995, a 62 percent increase over the same period of fiscal 1995. Net income was $499 million. Earnings per share were $0.78.
  Microsoft announces that it estimates that 7 million units of Microsoft Windows 95 have been purchased worldwide, either as an upgrade or on a new PC, since the product’s August 24, 1995 release. Techscan, an independent market-research firm, reports that more than 91 percent of 3,000 people surveyed in North America and Europe said they were satisfied or very satisfied with Windows 95. More that 90 percent reported they would repurchase the software if they were making the decision again.
November 20 Microsoft announces that MSN: The Microsoft Network, has enrolled more than 525,000 members in its first three months of service. With the majority of members using MSN’s full Internet access, this makes MSN one of the largest Internet service providers. Microsoft also announces it will not temporarily suspend member enrollment as was previously considered.
  Microsoft Chairman and CEO Bill Gates has authored his first book, “The Road Ahead.” It will go on sale in more than twenty languages, with a first printing of more than 1.5 million copies, starting November 24, 1995. “The Road Ahead” looks at how new technologies will guide the way we work, play, and live in the future.
November 27 Microsoft announces the release of the final version of Microsoft Internet Explorer 2.0 for Windows 95. Internet Explorer 2.0 is widely available for downloading at no charge to licensed users of Windows 95 via the Internet. Internet Explorer 2.0 offers full support for Web standards and for current Internet security standards, including secure transaction technology (STT). In addition, it is the first browser to support advanced multimedia and 3-D graphics capabilities. It will be available in twelve additional languages: Brazilian Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Pan-European English, Spanish, and Swedish.
December 7 Bill Gates outlines Microsoft’s wide-ranging commitment to supporting and enhancing the Internet by integrating the PC platform with the public network. Gates noted that businesses will adopt the Internet for internal business use-“the Intranet”-for communication with employees, suppliers, and customers, and Intranet applications will likely emerge faster than those for the general consumer market. NBC and Microsoft Join Forces
December 14 Microsoft and NBC announce that they have entered into a 50/50 partnership to create two new businesses — a 24-hour news and information channel and an interactive on-line news service distributed on MSN: The Microsoft Network. MSNBC Cable will debut within six months with 24-hour news programming through NBC’s existing America’s Talking distribution. The complementary interactive MSNBC Online news offering will be made available globally via the MSN and will incorporate NBC Desktop Video, a computer-based business information service tailored to the needs of financial institutions and corporations.

 

 

Stats
Revenues: $5,940,000,000
Employees: 17,801
Net Revenue (US$) $6.08B %Growth 29%
Net Income (US$) $1.45B %Growth 27%

1996

  Windows NT and the family of BackOffice products are designed for the most demanding business uses.

The design goals for Windows NT included extensibility, portability, reliability and robustness, compatibility, and performance. Windows NT is the ideal system for use in mission-critical applications -those essential “make or break” programs that are central to a company’s business. Examples of where Windows NT is at work in mission-critical applications include:

  Bill Gates completely missed the rise of the Internet — the biggest computing trend of the 1990s. But once Microsoft saw which way the wind was blowing, it simply spent enough money to catch up.

So campaning, its slogan became:

Microsoft leads the way as the world embarks upon the information highway

What’s your URL? became an often heard line.

And as stated “Microsoft re-invents itself to respond to the fast-growing popularity of the Internet”

  MSNBC, the 24-hour news, talk, and information network from NBC News and Microsoft makes its debut on July 15, 1996. MSNBC on the Internet is the companion news and information service designed to deliver in-depth news and information. Slate™, an interactive magazine of politics, culture, and public policy edited by Michael Kinsley, also appears online. MSN™, The Microsoft Network, is re-organized to offer content on the World Wide Web. Microsoft announces the formation of the Executive Committee (replacing the Office of the President) comprised of Jim Allchin, Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates, Bob Herbold, Pete Higgins, Paul Maritz, Nathan Myhrvold, Jeff Raikes, and Brad Silverberg.
  Jill Barad, Mattel USA President, is named to the Microsoft Board of Directors, the first woman to serve since 1988.
Microsoft Acquires Vermeer Technologies, Inc.
1/16/1996 Vermeer’s flagship software application, FrontPage, is a tool for easily creating and managing rich Web documents without programming. FrontPage will become a key component of Microsoft’s strategy to provide a full range of tools for both Internet and intranet publishing.
February 15 Headed by Patty Stonesifer, the Interactive Media Division will consist of MSN, the Microsoft Network online service; games and kids’ titles; and the information businesses formerly residing in the now-dissolved Consumer Division. The new division will focus on creating and marketing worldwide interactive entertainment and information products across a variety of media, including the Internet.
February 20 The Platforms Group will be aligned to more closely coordinate the Microsoft® Windows® family strategy and to concentrate on developing complementary products and technologies for the Internet. The Platforms Group currently comprises four divisions: Business Systems, Consumer Systems, Developer, and Personal Systems. These four will be realigned into three divisions: the Desktop and Business Systems Division, the Internet Platform and Tools Division, and the Consumer Platforms Division.
February 27 Microsoft is segmenting its support offerings into two distinct categories, according to the service level desired by the customer. End users, developers, and organizations requiring Standard and Priority technical support from Microsoft will now be served by the newly named Microsoft AnswerPoint framework, which includes easy access to technical and support information, no charge support, and fee-based, round-the-clock support at various levels. A comprehensive portfolio of direct and partner-supplied enterprise customer services will be offered through the company’s new Microsoft Service Advantage and the Global Service Network.
March 12 Microsoft® ActiveX™ Technologies, a set of tools to enable the creation of active content for the Internet and the PC, are announced. Through ActiveX Technologies, Web pages can incorporate active content, including animation, 3-D virtual reality, video, and other multimedia content. ActiveX Technologies include Internet standards and will be delivered on multiple platforms. ActiveX Technologies include various components such as, ActiveX Controls, Active Scripts, ActiveX Documents, ActiveX Server Framework, ActiveX Server Scripting, and ActiveX Server Controls.
April 16 Microsoft® SQL Server™ client-server database management system version 6.5 has released to manufacturing. Key new features include built-in support for Internet applications, improved support for distributed management tools, and a new locking architecture called Dynamic Locking.
May 20 More than 30 million people worldwide use Microsoft®Excel, making it the most popular spreadsheet program of all time. User feedback guides development and shapes priorities for new features and new technologies.
June 6 Microsoft names Mattel USA President and Chief Operating Officer, Jill E. Barad, to its board of directors. Starting as a product manager at Mattel in 1981, she was named executive vice president of marketing and worldwide product development in 1986 and, in 1989, president of the girls and activity toys division. In 1990 she was named president of Mattel USA, which lead to her current position as president and chief operating officer in 1992. Barad is the first woman named to the Microsoft Board of Directors since Portia Isaacson served in 1986 and 1987.
June 13 Bill Gates outlines Microsoft’s strategy to deliver a comprehensive set of products and services that seamlessly integrate desktops, LANs, client-server applications, legacy systems, and the public Internet. Besides integrating LANs with the Internet, Microsoft’s intranet strategy is to implement new navigation paradigms; simplify applications development, deployment, and administration; and integrate new products and Internet technologies with existing infrastructures.
June 24 Slate ™, an interactive magazine of politics, culture, and public policy edited by Michael Kinsley, debuts online. Slate aims to provide a timely, decisive, and nonpartisan atmosphere for politically and culturally engaged readers through a mix of editorial features, reviews, columns, and interactive forums.
July 15 MSNBC, the 24-hour news, talk, and information network from NBC News and Microsoft, debuts. MSNBC will initially deliver 14 hours of original programming each day. The number of original program hours will continue to increase as the network expands. MSNBC on the Internet is the companion news and information service designed to deliver in-depth news and information.
July 22 Microsoft promotes Jeffrey S. Raikes to Group Vice President, Sales and Marketing. In his new position, Raikes becomes a member of Bill Gates’ “Office of the President.”
October 29 Patty Stonesifer, Senior Vice President of the Interactive Media Division and the executive credited with building Microsoft’s position as the world’s leading consumer and interactive media company, resigns. After eight years at Microsoft she leaves to pursue personal interests and a new career as a management consultant.
November 7 Microsoft releases Microsoft® Flight Simulator for Windows 95 marking the first time in its 14-year history that the product is available on the Windows platform.
November 12 Microsoft’s Board of Directors approves a 2-for-1 stock split. Shareholders will receive one additional share for every share held on the record date of November 22, 1996.
December 3 Microsoft forms the Executive Committee which will replace the Office of the President as the most senior management team at the company. Senior Vice President Jim Allchin and Senior Vice President Brad Silverberg will join Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates, Bob Herbold, Pete Higgins, Paul Maritz, Nathan Myhrvold, and Jeff Raikes on the new Executive Committee.

 

Presidents

  • The Executive Committee (12/96 — 7/21/98) replaces the Office of the President in December 1996. Senior Vice Presidents Jim Allchin and Brad Silverberg joined Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Bob Herbold, Pete Higgins, Paul Maritz, Nathan Myhrvold and Jeff Raikes on the new Executive Committee.
  • Jill Barad, Mattel USA President, is named to the Microsoft Board of Directors, the first woman to serve since 1988.

 

Stats

Revenues: $8,671,000,000
Employees: 20,561
Net Revenue (US$)$9.05B %Growth 49%
Net Income (US$) $2.20B % Growth 51%

 

1997

January Microsoft announces the immediate availability of Office 97, the new version of the world’s best-selling productivity suite, which integrates the ease of intelligent applications with the power of the Web.
March 3 Microsoft acquired Interse Corp., a maker of software for analyzing user activity on World Wide Web sites. Financial terms were not disclosed.
April Microsoft signs an agreement to acquire WebTV Networks for approximately $425,000,000 in stock and cash. WebTV Networks offers a complete system that provides consumers access to the Internet via television.

The Seattle Sidewalk™ city guide is now available free on the World Wide Web and as a featured offering on MSN™, The Microsoft Network. Other Sidewalk city guides are scheduled to launch in 10-15 key cities by the end of the year.

May Microsoft is hosting The Microsoft® CEO Summit in Seattle on May 8-9, 1997. The summit is a forum for Chief Executive Officers from more than 100 corporations around the world to engage in discussions about technology.
June Microsoft will make an investment of $1 billion in Comcast, the nation’s fourth-largest cable television operator and a diversified telecommunications company. The $1 billion cash investment will enhance Comcast’s deployment of high-speed data and video services via its cable delivery network.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda French Gates, today announced the formation of the Gates library Foundation. Microsoft has pledged to match the Gates’ cash grant with software of equal value.
June 10 MS purchased 11.5% of Comcast Corp. for $1 billion.
August Steve Jobs and Bill Gates lay out a broad product and technology development agreement between Apple and Microsoft. The agreement includes the production of future versions of Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, and other Microsoft tools for the Macintosh; the bundling of Internet Explorer with the Mac OS; a broad patent cross-licensing agreement for leading-edge Mac technologies; and a $150 million investment in Apple by Microsoft.
  Internet Explorer 4.0 The ultimate internet solution. Internet Explorer is designed to take advantage of the latest Internet technologies available.
September Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 4.0 is released to critical acclaim and enormous customer demand. Internet Explorer 4.0 combines the premier Internet browser, communication and collaboration tools, innovative Active Channel™ “push” content and true Web integration to offer users an unparalleled Internet client solution.
October The Justice Department filed a motion today in Federal District Court, alleging that Microsoft had violated a 1994 consent decree dealing with certain aspects of licensing the Windows operating system to computer manufacturers. Specifically, the Justice Department asked the court to stop Microsoft from tying the use of its Windows 95 operating system to the use of its Internet browser, a tool to navigate the Internet.
November Pollsters Hart and Teeter found that Microsoft is the most admired company in one of the most admired industries in America. When the public was asked to volunteer, without being prompted, the names of one or two companies they respect and admire, Microsoft was named by 25 percent. IBM and General Motors were next, at 16 percent, followed by AT&T and WalMart at 15 percent.

Stats

Revenues: $11,360,000,000 % Growth 32%
Employees: 22,232
Net Income (US$) $3.45B % Growth 57%

1998

  WINDOWS CE–Smarter & Better Devices
  With the 1997 introduction of the handheld PC (HP/C), Windows CE products continue to expand with the introduction of new devices and updated OS versions and applications. The Palm-size PC and the Auto PC along with the HP/C professional edition expand the PC companion line.
  Launch of India Development Center in Hyderabad, India. The center will become the second largest development center outside the US facillity in Redmond (WA)
January 26 Microsoft’s Board of Directors approved a 2 for 1 split of its common shares. Shareholders will receive one additional common share held on the record date of February 6, 1998. As of December 31, 1997, Microsoft had approximately 1.2 billion common shares outstanding. This is the seventh time the common stock has split since the company went public on March 13, 1986.
February 5 Microsoft realigns its product groups to respond to changing consumer and market needs. The reorganization focuses the product groups on investing in Windows with the goal of delivering simplicity and scalability, allowing businesses to maximize their competitive advantage through their digital nervous system, and promoting the Web lifestyle.
March 26 Microsoft delivers on its commitment to build innovative products for the Macintosh by releasing Office 98, Macintosh Edition, which offers Mac users all of the features found in Office 97, plus added functionality.
March 31 For the first time ever, Exchange Server outsold Lotus Notes in the first quarter of calendar year 1998. In its two years on the market, sales of Exchange Server totaled more than 13 million seats, easily making it the fastest-growing server product in PC history.
May 01 Slate becomes the first Internet-based magazine to join the New York Times global news distribution service, which includes content from The Economist and Le Monde.
June 25 Microsoft launches Windows 98 worldwide

Presidents

On July 21, 1998, Steve Ballmer, 42, is appointed president of Microsoft to broaden the leadership of the company and better position the company to take advantage of future growth opportunities. Ballmer’s new responsibilities include boosting the business discipline and performance of all Microsoft’s existing and emerging businesses as well as improving customer satisfaction.

Bill Gates, 42, will continue as chairman and CEO, and will focus more time on Microsoft’s long-term planning and working with the development teams to devise the technologies and products of the future.

Stats
Revenues: $14.48 billion Growth 30%
Net Revenue (US$) $15.26B %Growth 28%
Employees: 27,055

1999

 

January 8 Microsoft launches Encarta Africana, the first comprehensive encyclopedia of black history and culture.
February 24 Microsoft opens its first online store, Shop.
March 18 Bill Gates introduces Internet Explorer 5.0 at a launch event on the Microsoft campus in Redmond.. By the following week, more than 1 million downloads of the new version have taken place.
March 24 Bill Gates releases his latest book, Business @ the Speed of Thought, published by Warner Books. At the heart of the new book is a single idea: For businesses to think and move quickly enough to succeed in the fast-paced digital economy, they must enable the flow of digital information.
June 7 Steve Ballmer officially launches Microsoft Office 2000, a key element of the company’s vision of “Knowledge Workers Without Limits.”
September 13 Microsoft announces Windows Distributed interNet Architecture (Windows DNA) 2000, a comprehensive, integrated platform for building and operating state-of-the-art distributed Web applications as well as the next wave of Internet-based Web services.

 

Stats

Revenues: $19.75B % Growth 29%
Employees:31,575
Net Income (US$) $7.79B % Growth 73%

 

 

2000

January 7 Microsoft acquires Visio Corporation, the largest acquisition in Microsoft’s history.
January 13 Bill Gates creates a new role for himself chairman and chief software architect so that he can dedicate all of his time to helping drive the next-generation Windows Internet platform and services. Steve Ballmer becomes president and CEO, and will take over management of the company.
February 17 Microsoft launches Windows 2000
April 3 Microsoft announces the retail availability of Microsoft Project 2000 and the companion, Web-based Microsoft Project Central, a major upgrade to the world’s best-selling project-management software, with more than 5 million users.
June 22 Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer outline Microsoft’s .NET strategy for Web services the vision and road map for its next generation of software and services. Microsoft .NET (pronounced dot net) will provide easier, more personalized, and more productive Internet experiences by harnessing constellations of smart devices and Web sites with advanced software through Internet protocols and formats.
September 14 Microsoft announces the availability of Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me).
September 20 Warner Books publishes Inside Out, Microsoft—In Our Own Words, a commemorative 25th anniversary book.

 

Stats

Revenues: $22.96B % Growth 16%
Employees:39,170
Net Income (US$) $9.42B % Growth 21%

2001

 

February 13 Microsoft Windows XP operating system makes its public debut at the Experience Music Project in Seattle.
May 31 Microsoft Office XP launches, promising to unlock hidden knowledge and unleash the next wave of productivity gains
October 25 Microsoft Windows XP is released worldwide.
November 15 Microsoft Xbox® launches, offering the only system on the market designed from the ground up to deliver a complete online gaming experience.

 

Stats

Revenues: $25.30B % Growth 10%
Employees:48,030
Net Income (US$) $7.35B % Growth -22%
June 30, 2001

2002

January 15 Bill Gates outlines Microsoft’s commitment to Trustworthy Computing
February 13 Microsoft Visual Studio® .NET launches during the VSLive! Conference in San Francisco.
March 18 Microsoft and those states not agreeing to the settlement reached by the U.S. Department of Justice began a trial on remedies in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
April 4 Microsoft President Rick Belluzzo, appointed to his post slightly more than a year ago, is stepping down.
July 1 Today at Microsoft Tech•Ed 2002 Europe, Microsoft launched Microsoft Visual J#® .NET, a development tool for Java-language developers building applications and services on the Microsoft .NET Framework. The launch of Visual J# .NET signals the completion and availability of all the Microsoft programming languages within Visual Studio .NET, including Visual C++® .NET, Visual C#® .NET and Visual Basic® .NET.
August 8 Microsoft Reaches an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission on Passport.
October 23 Microsoft today will unveil MSN 8 with a celebration in Manhattan’s Central Park, the first stop on a national tour intended to show consumers why a recent study revealed that three out of four people prefer the new MSN 8 software to AOL 8.
November 1 Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly (U.S. District Court–Washington, D.C.) issues her final judgment conditionally approving the settlement Microsoft reached with the federal government and the nine states
November 7 Microsoft and partners launch Tablet PC

 

Stats

Revenues: $28.37B % Growth 12%
Employees:50,621
Net Income (US$) $5.35B* % Growth -28%

 

2003

 

  Launch of GTSC (Global Technical Support Center) in Bangalore, India
January 16 Microsoft declares annual dividend
April 16 Windows Server System™ replaces .NET Enterprise Servers as the first official portfolio name that encompasses more than a dozen Microsoft server software offerings, including Windows Server™ 2003. The new Windows Server System brand change informs customers that Windows Server 2003 is at the heart of the company’s server strategy and that Microsoft’s server software offerings are being designed around a common architecture to ensure interoperability.
April 24 Windows Server 2003 launches. It is the largest software development project in Microsoft history to date.
June 23 Microsoft announces Windows Mobile, a new global brand for Microsoft software for mobile devices such as Pocket PCs and smart phones. The new Windows Mobile brand helps customers more readily understand and identify the software inside Pocket PCs and smart phones and the consistent experience they can expect.
October 9 Microsoft opens the inaugural Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference for its global network of industry partners, highlighting resources to drive the success of its industry partners, the innovation of its technology offerings, and a renewed commitment to helping partners capture opportunity.
October 21 Microsoft announces the general availability of the new Microsoft Office System, along with research that shows how leading companies are already gaining a competitive advantage from Microsoft Office System productivity solutions.
November 3 Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA) announces the founding of the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in Beijing, China, a new division that is to focus on further developing innovations produced in the lab.
November 11 Microsoft shareholders approve the addition of two new directors, Charles H. Noski and Helmut Panke, increasing the size of its board of directors from eight to 10 members.

 

Stats

Revenues: $32.19B % Growth 13%
Employees:54,468
Net Income (US$) $7.53B* % Growth 29%

 

2004

 

March 15 The Shared Source Initiative reaches a milestone of 1 million participants. Through Shared Source programs, Microsoft shares source code with customers, governments, partners, academics, and individuals.
April 2 Microsoft and Sun Microsystems enter into a broad technology collaboration arrangement to enable their products to work better together and to settle all pending litigation between the two companies. The companies also enter into agreements on patents and other issues.
July 20 Microsoft’s board of directors approves an $0.08 per share quarterly dividend, plans to buy back up to $30 billion of the company’s stock over four years, and a special one-time dividend of $3 per share. In all, $75 billion is to be returned to shareholders over four years.
August 11 Microsoft announces a five-country pilot program for Windows XP Starter Edition, a low-cost introduction to Windows XP designed for first-time desktop PC users in developing technology markets.
October 12 Bill Gates delivers Microsoft’s vision of digital entertainment anywhere, unveils Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, and showcases a variety of sleek new computer designs, portable media devices, and digital content services.
December 30 Microsoft announces a commitment of $3.5 million in financial support for relief and recovery efforts in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami.

 

Stats

Revenues: $36.84B %Growth 14%
Employees:57,086
Net Income (US$) $8.17B % Growth 8%

 

2005

January 10 Microsoft files a development agreement (DA) with the City of Redmond, WA, outlining its plans to make one of the largest corporate campuses in the world even larger through a major expansion of its corporate headquarters. In the plan, Microsoft also commits up to $30 million to local transportation and infrastructure improvements.
January 11 Microsoft announces the retirement of its Chief Financial Officer of five years, John Connors. He was a 16-year veteran of the company.
January 12 Microsoft Research launches operations at Microsoft Research India (MSRI) in Bangalore. MSRI is to initially focus on geographic information systems (GIS), technologies for emerging markets, multilingual systems, and sensor networks.
February 1 MSN launches a new Search service, available in 25 markets and 10 languages. The new MSN Search service delivers results of greater relevance, instant answers to specific questions, and a collection of tools that give Internet users greater control in targeting and refining searches.
March 30 Microsoft reaches an agreement with the EU to detach MicrosoftMediaplayer from Windows XP – rebranded as WindowsXP N. Microsoft also agrees to pay 497 million Euro in fines

 

 

 

 

Jitendra Kumar

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