Since its beginnings in 1975, Microsoft has grown into one of the largest corporations in the world. Microsoft produces the most widely used personal and business computer software available. The Windows line of systems and the Office line of office software dominate the field. Microsoft now produces hardware such as gaming systems and PC hardware. Today there is no aspect of PC software, hardware or electronic media that Microsoft does not have a presence in.
History of Microsoft
Microsoft officially began in April of 1975 as a joint venture of Bill Gates and Paul Allen. The pair felt that they could write a program that would implement instructions in the computer language BASIC for a computer called the Altair 8800. Gates and Allen gave a demonstration of the software to officials of the company that made the Altair 8800, and the company began to sell it as Altair BASIC.
The next major milestone for the company was the production of MS-DOS. MS-DOS started out as an operating system for IBM computers. Although IBM was given the right to use the system, which they called PC-DOS on their computers, Microsoft kept the rights to MS-DOS. MS-DOS was soon being sold as a stand-alone operating system. Because of its ease of use and a relatively wide selection of software title based on it, MS-DOS soon became the dominant PC system.
In 1984, Microsoft released the first Windows. Windows was a version of MS-DOS that used a graphical interface instead of the traditional command-line. A command-line interface meant the user had to type commands using a programming-like format and terminology. With the advent of Windows, a graphical user interface (GUI) was used. This meant the user was presented with pictorial representations of files, folders and other items, and actions could be taken on these items with a pointing device such as a mouse.
In 1994 Microsoft debuted its new suite of office software, Microsoft Office. This suite included Microsoft’s word programming software Word, spreadsheet software Excel and presentation software PowerPoint. As with Windows, Office soon became the most popular office software brand. Windows was able to convince several PC manufacturers to include their software on new computers. Because of this, many makers of other software programs made products to be compatible with Windows. This created a snowball effect, as new PCs came preloaded with Windows, which made it more likely that other software releases would be based on Windows, which made it less likely that people would want other systems. In order to use a competing system, a consumer would have to buy it separately, install it on their PC, and then be content with a smaller number of supported software titles. This effect soon made Windows by far the most popular commercially available system.
The 1990s- Microsoft Branches Out
In 1995 Microsoft issued several new releases that would help launch the Internet era. A new operating system, Windows 95, was released. Windows 95 came with an online service called MSN, which stood for the Microsoft Network. An online service at the time was a collection of websites provided by the service provider as well as a means of accessing the Internet. At the same time, the first version of Internet Explorer was released.
During this time frame, Microsoft began branching out into other areas. The company released a new system designed for use with smaller devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), and got into the cable television market with the launching of MSNBC.
The Expansion Continues
Microsoft has continued to grow and expand into new markets. New systems released included Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. New versions of Office are released about every two to three years. In addition to PC software, the company has entered many new markets, including PC hardware, video game systems, email providers and programming tools.
Microsoft today is involved in myriad product lines. Just a few of them would take a large volume to discuss; the Microsoft website lists 20 products and categories under Business Software and Developer Tools alone. A few of the more well-known and popular categories and products are described here.
This category includes video game hardware such as the Xbox system and software such as a wide selection of video games. It also includes the website MSN, which offers news, games, sports, weather and more. The Zune online music and video store is also included in this category.
Many people today use Internet email providers. One of the first, and still one of the most used, is Hotmail. In addition to email, Hotmail offers a calendar and instant messaging.
Microsoft offers a full range of business software, including server operating systems, Office and cloud software.
Windows Live Messenger
Windows Live Messenger is an instant messaging program that includes several other features. It includes a photo gallery, integration with social networking sites, and games. It can also interact with online versions of Xbox 360, Facebook Chat and Yahoo! Messenger.
From its beginning as a partnership between two individuals in 1975, Microsoft has grown into a giant, international corporation that is involved in many industries and most aspects of electronic equipment hardware and software.
Website : Microsoft.com