[AI] HAPPY 35TH BIRTHDAY MICROSOFT
ilovecold at gmail.com
Fri Aug 27 04:04:50 EDT 2010
No one would have thought a college dropout and his mate could change the
live and work forever, but here we are.
We celebrate 35 years of Microsoft
It's spring 1975. Margaret Thatcher defeats Edward Heath for the leadership
the Conservative Party, the Bay City Rollers spend six weeks at number one
'Bye Bye Baby' and 'One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest' is the year's big hit
the box office. That same spring, Harvard dropout Bill Gates and his
schoolfriend Paul Allen set up a tiny business to write software for a new
microcomputer called the Altair 8800. Their first product is the Altair
language. At first the company is called Micro-soft, then MicroSoft, and
>From these modest beginnings, the firm went on to give birth to an entire
industry, change the way we live and work and become one of the largest
companies on the planet, creating countless millionaires along the way.
As Microsoft celebrates its 35th anniversary, we look at the best, worst and
most notable moments, products, decisions and people in the company's
SAVVIEST BUSINESS DEAL
In November 1980, Microsoft signed an agreement with IBM to provide an
system (OS) for the still-secret IBM Personal Computer, to be released in
The OS would ultimately be called PC-DOS, a rebranding of Microsoft's
Microsoft didn't actually write MS-DOS; instead, it paid Seattle Computer to
rewrite its own QDOS for the purpose, without telling it to whom the OS
Microsoft went on to use its relationship with IBM as a springboard to
its worldwide dominance in business OSes.
MOST SURPRISING INVESTMENT
In August 1997, rival company Apple was in desperate need of cash.
came to the rescue, buying $150m in stock. As part of the deal, Microsoft
agreed to continue to develop Microsoft Office for Mac, and Apple agreed to
bundle Internet Explorer (IE) with Mac OS.
Both parts of the agreement have since fallen by the wayside: IE for Mac is
gone, and Microsoft is no longer required to update Office for Mac (although
usually does some time after the Windows version is updated).
SPLASHIEST PRODUCT LAUNCH
Microsoft launched Windows 95 in 1995 with a $300m advertising campaign that
said to bethe biggest in history. Microsoft is rumoured to-have spent $12m
Windows 95's theme tune -The Rolling Stones' 'Start Me Up'. It also draped
300 feet banner over Toronto's CN Tower, paid-for a print run of 1.5 million
copies of The Times and distributed them for free, andhad the Empire State
Building lit up in Microsoft's corporate colours.
MOST HATED OS
Windows Vista's 2006 release proved to be far more of a fiasco than Windows
or MS-DOS 4. Following a five-year gap between the release of XP and Vista,
people had high expectations. Unfortunately, Vista was bedevilled by
incompatibilities at launch, it wouldn't run on older hardware and many
disliked its resource-hungry user interface.
Making matters worse, many PCs that were labelled 'Vista Capable' couldn't
the full version of the OS.
SMARTEST SOFTWARE BUNDLE
Clearly the smartest software bundling move Microsoft ever made was
Word, Excel and PowerPoint into Microsoft Office - for the Mac in 1989 and
Windows in 1990.
Microsoft Word was released in 1983 for MS-DOS, in 1985 for the Mac and in
for Windows. Excel was launched in 1985 for the Mac and in 1987 for
PowerPoint for the Mac was released in 1987 and in 1990 for Windows.
MOST ANNOYING PRODUCTIVITY TOOL
Microsoft launched Office 97 in November 1996. It featured the Office
Assistant, otherwise known as Clippy, an animated character in the form of a
paper clip. Clippy was supposed to help people get work done more easily by
offering tips from the help database that related to the task being
But Clippy was intrusive and intensely annoying. Microsoft turned off the
feature by default in Office XP and removed it altogether in Office 2007.
In mid-2006, Microsoft began rolling out Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) as
'high-priority' download along with its regular Windows Update service.
However, the update had nothing to do with the PC's security. WGA is
Microsoft's anti-piracy software. It warns people if they don't have a
version of Windows installed, and can even prevent some updates from
When you use formulae in Excel, you expect it to do the maths correctly.
September 2007, an Excel 2007 bug left Microsoft execs red-faced: it was
apparently unable to do simple multiplication. If a formula resulted in the
number 65,535 or 65,536, for example, Excel would display the result
The problem wasn't that Excel couldn't add up, according to the company;
it was a display issue. Microsoft fixed the bug, and Excel has known its
multiplication tables - and how to display them - ever since.
Windows 1.0's release registered as barely a blip on the computing world's
radar. Begun in 1981 and initially called 'Interface Manager', Microsoft's
first graphical OS was announced in 1983 but not released until 1985.
It didn't run as a standalone OS; instead, users had to launch it from
DOS. And by the time it was released, its thunder was stolen by Apple's
Macintosh computer and graphical Mac OS, which beat it to launch in 1984.
With 2001's XP, Microsoft merged Windows' consumer and business lines,
a consumer-oriented OS on top of the stable Windows NT kernel. It stopped
DOS as the base OS, making XP more stable and reliable than previous
Some people believe XP was too much of a success, because Microsoft has had
hard time getting people to give it up for newer Windows versions. In 2008,
more than 200,000 people signed InfoWorld magazine's 'Save XP' petition.
lives on not only on our PCs but in the heart of Windows 7, which still
its predecessor's merged business and consumer lines.
BEST PRODUCT LAUNCH
In May 1990, Microsoft brought graphical computing to the masses with the
of Windows 3.0. Although windows-based OSes were in use elsewhere, notably
the Mac, Windows 3.0 was a revelation for PC users, with a graphical
multitasking and copy-and-paste, among other features.
BEST PRODUCTIVITY BOOSTER
Office 2007 was released in March 2006 with a brand-new interface. The
interface replaced the familiar menus and toolbars, putting the most
used commands on a series of tabbed panels. Although some people hate the
ribbon, many users eventually found it easier to use than the old interface.
And research shows that the ribbon is a productivity booster, according to
Microsoft - so much so that it's decided to incorporate elements of it
throughout its entire product line, including Windows itself.
On WORST NIGHTMARE
4 September 1998, Larry Page and has Sergey Brin founded Google. The
company-market since dominated internet search, a-that Microsoft initially
ignored. Googlehas also entered the email and productivity
and has introduced a web browser and an-OS. On top of that, it offers a
other services and tools - making it Microsoft's biggest ever threat.
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