Microsoft was founded by Paul Allen and Bill Gates on April 4, 1975. It was, then, only an applications company. They did create some wonderful applications like Microsoft Word and Excel, which are still popular today, but they weren’t able to make a mark on this planet. It was only when they launched their first ever OS, named Windows 1.0, that their feat to victory began.
Bill Gates announced Microsoft Windows platform on November 10, 1983. Since his new OS had features that looked similar with Apple’s Mac OS, Bill Gates decided to license this software and adopt some of its features. The first version of Windows was made available for sale on November 20, 1985, but received cold response from the general public. Two years, later, Microsoft released version 2.0 for Windows which performed better than previous versions. The first major app to appear on Windows was the ‘Aldus PageMaker’, having previously run only on Macintosh.
The march to glory really began in 1990 when Microsoft released Windows 3.0. It provided improved capabilities to its users which included better multi tasking then its previous versions. It allowed applications to use memory more painlessly than its DOS counterparts, because of a better Graphics card support. Its user interface finally resembled a serious competitor to the user interface of the Macintosh computer. Unlike Macintosh user interface, Windows’ OS was available on an open market. This meant that if a user wanted to use Macintosh’s OS, he was forced to buy the whole Computer, whereas if he wished to use Windows’ OS, he could use it from any other computer system. Microsoft sold more than 1 million copies of Windows 3.0 and its updated versions. This infuriated Apple which sued Microsoft for ‘stealing’ the look and feel of Macintosh’s user interface. The court however ruled in favor of Microsoft.
Microsoft had an intimate relationship with IBM since its start. That relationship was terminated however in 1991 when both companies had a disagreement regarding the making of OS/2, a new Operating system that was due to be released on behalf of both the platforms. However, that didn’t stop Microsoft from marching on. In 1993, the number of licensed users of Microsoft Windows totaled more than 25 million. The second major feat that Microsoft pulled was its introduction of Windows 95, which released on February 14, 1996. Microsoft then released Windows 2000 on February 17, 2000, which proved to be another major success.
The biggest of these feats however was the release of Windows XP. Windows XP was basically a merger of Windows NT/2000 and Windows 95/98/Me. The initial version met with severe criticism, especially regarding security issues. Those issues were addressed however with the release of three major service packs. This encouraged widespread of XP among both home and business users and XP went on to become the best selling Windows ever. It also has the distinction of being lasting longer on Microsoft’s flagship than any other version.
Windows XP was followed up by Windows Vista. However, Vista was the target of much criticism and negative press, and in general was not well regarded; which is seen as leading to the relatively swift release of Windows 7.
Windows 7 was made available on October 22, 2009. Some features of Windows 7 are faster booting, Device Stage, Windows PowerShell, less obtrusive User Account Control, multi-touch, and improved window management. It was released in six versions and received generally positive review. It was followed up by Windows 8, which was intended for users using touch systems. Although, being a hit in the Smartphone market, its desktop version was mostly criticized by the general public.
Windows 10 is the current release of the Microsoft Windows operating system. It was unveiled on September 30, 2014, and was made available for sale on July 29, 2015. It is available to Windows 7 and 8.1 users with no charges for the first year, and up till now, is receiving positive reviews from its users.