Microsoft Corporation is a US-based technology company based in Redmond, Washington, that supports the design, manufacture, and licensing of computer-related goods and services. It was registered in New Mexico in 1976 after it was founded last year by two childhood friends. Here’s how Microsoft was founded, and a brief summary of the company’s history.
Two Computer Geeks
Before Paul Allen and Bill Gates founded Microsoft, they were enthusiastic computer geeks at a time when it was difficult to access computers. Allen and Gates even skipped high school classes so they could live and breathe in their school’s computer room. They later hacked into a school computer and were arrested, but instead of being released, they were offered unlimited computer time in exchange for improved school computer performance.
With the help of colleague Paul Gilbert, Gates and Allen ran their own small business, Traf-O-Data in high school, and sold a computer in downtown Seattle so they could count traffic in the city.
Bill Gates, Harvard Dropout
In 1973 Gates left Seattle to attend Harvard University as a pre-law student. However, Gates’ first love never left him, as he spent most of his time at Harvard Computer Center, where he continued to improve his programming skills. Allen later also moved to Boston, working as a programmer and forcing Gates to leave Harvard so they could constantly collaborate on their projects. Gates wasn’t sure what to do, but fate came to it.
The Birth of Microsoft
In January 1975, Allen read an article in Popular Electronics about the Altair 8800 microcomputer and showed it to Gates. Gates named MITS, created Altair, and offered his and Allen’s services to write a version of the new BASIC programming language for Altair.
Eight weeks later, Allen and Gates presented their program to MITS, which agreed to distribute and sell a product called Altair BASIC. The deal inspired Gates and Allen to start their own software business. Microsoft was launched on April 4, 1975 in Albuquerque, New Mexico – home of MITS – with Gates as its first CEO.
Where the Name ‘Microsoft’ Came From
On July 29, 1975, Gates used the name “Micro-Soft” – as Allen suggested – in a letter to Allen referring to her partnership. The name, portmanteau “microcomputer” and “software”, was registered with the New Mexico Secretary of State in November. 26, 1976.
In August 1977, less than a year later, the company opened its first international office. The subsidiary based in Japan is called ASCII Microsoft. In 1979, the company moved to Bellevue, Washington, and two years later was incorporated under the name Microsoft Inc. Gates is the company’s president and chairman, and Allen is the executive vice president.
History of Microsoft Products
Microsoft Operating Systems
The operating system is the basic software used by a computer. As a newly formed company, the first Microsoft operating system product to be released to the public was a Unix version called Xenix, which was released in 1980. Xenix was later used as the basis of the first word processor. Microsoft Multi-Tool Word, the successor to Microsoft Word.
Microsoft’s first highly successful operating system was Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-DOS), written for IBM in 1981 and based on QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System) by computer programmer Tim Paterson. Under the Century Agreement, Gates borrowed MS-DOS from IBM, but retained the software rights. As a result, Gates made a fortune for Microsoft, which became a major soft seller.
Microsoft’s mouse was released on May 2, 1983.
Also in 1983, the koruna performance of Microsoft was published. The Microsoft Windows operating system has a new graphical user interface and multitasking environment for IBM computers. In 1986, the company went public. The success meant that Gates became a billionaire at the age of 31.
1989 marked the release of Microsoft Office, a software package that, as the name describes, is a collection of programs for use in an office. Still used today, it includes a word processor, spreadsheet, mail program, business presentation software, and more.
In August 1995, Microsoft released Windows 95. This included technologies for connecting to the internet, such as built-in support for dial-up networking, TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), and the web browser Internet Explorer 1.0.
In 2001, Microsoft introduced its first gaming unit, the Xbox system. Xbox faced stiff competition from Sony’s PlayStation, and eventually, Microsoft discontinued the original Xbox in favor of later versions. In 2005, Microsoft released the Xbox 360 gaming console, which was a success.
In 2012, Microsoft made its first foray into the computing hardware market with the announcement of Surface tablets that ran Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro.