Microsoft a world largest company was founded in 1975 by William H. Gates III and Paul Allen. Both had known each other during their student days because of their common fondness for programming with the PDP-10 computer from Digital Equipment Corporation. In that year, Popular Electronics magazine dedicated its cover and an article to the Altair 8800, the first personal computer. The article encouraged Gates and Allen to develop the first version of the BASIC programming language for the Altair team. They bought the license for this software from Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), the Altair manufacturer, and founded Microsoft (originally Micro-soft) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with the purpose of developing BASIC versions for other companies in the market. Apple Computer, manufacturer of the Apple II equipment, Commodore, manufacturer of the PET, and Tandy Corporation, manufacturer of the Radio Shack TRS-80 equipment, all of them companies created at the time, were Microsoft’s first customers. In 1977, Microsoft released its second product, Microsoft FORTRAN, another programming language, and soon released versions of the BASIC language for the 8080 and 8086 microprocessors. In 1984 Microsoft had granted MS-DOS licenses to 200 computer equipment manufacturers and, thus, this operating system became the most used for PC, which allowed Microsoft to grow rapidly in the 1980s.

  1. Software For Applications

As MS-DOS sales soared, Microsoft began developing a series of PC applications for commercial purposes. In 1982 Multiplan, a spreadsheet program went on the market, and the word processor Microsoft Word was put on sale the following year. In 1984, Microsoft was one of the first companies in the industry to develop applications for the Macintosh, a personal computer created by the company Apple Computer. At the beginning, Microsoft obtained great successes of sale of programs for Macintosh like Word, Excel and Works (a group of applications integrated in a package). However, Multiplan for MS-DOS was almost completely replaced by Lotus Development Corporation’s famous Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet.

  1. Windows

In 1985 Microsoft launched Windows, an operating system that extended the features of MS-DOS and incorporated a graphical user interface for the first time. Windows 2.0, which went on sale in 1987, improved performance and offered a new visual aspect. Three years later a new version appeared, Windows 3.0, followed by Windows 3.1 and 3.11. These versions, which were already pre-installed on most computers, quickly became the most used operating systems in the world. In 1990 Microsoft became the leading software company and achieved annual sales of more than one billion dollars. When Microsoft was at the top of the PC software market, the company was accused of practicing monopolistic business practices. In 1990, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began to investigate Microsoft for alleged practices contrary to free competition, but was unable to pass sentence and closed the case. The US Department of Justice continued the investigation.

In 1991 Microsoft and IBM finalized a decade of collaboration when they decided to follow different paths in the next generation of operating systems for personal computers. IBM continued with an old project in common with Microsoft, an operating system called OS / 2 (which came on the market in 1987), while Microsoft decided to develop its Windows operating system. In 1993, Apple lost a lawsuit against Microsoft that it accused of violating copyright laws for illegally copying the design of the Macintosh graphical interface. The ruling was later confirmed by an appellate court. Windows NT, an operating system designed for enterprise environments, was launched in 1993. The following year, the company and the Department of Justice signed an agreement in which Microsoft was asked to modify the way to sell and license their operating systems to computer manufacturers. In 1995 the company launched Windows 95, a multitasking environment with simplified interface and other enhanced features. Seven million copies had been sold seven weeks after its launch.

  1. Improvements In Your Products

Microsoft began to operate in the field of media and created The Microsoft Network in 1995 and MSNBC a year later. In addition, in 1996 Microsoft introduced Windows CE, an operating system for pocket computers. In 1997 Microsoft paid $ 425 million for the acquisition of WebTV Networks, a manufacturer of low-cost devices to connect televisions to the Internet. That same year, Microsoft invested $ 1 billion in Comcast Corporation, a US cable television operator, as part of its policy to extend the availability of high-speed Internet connections. In late 1997, the Justice Department accused Microsoft of violating the 1994 agreement by forcing computer manufacturers installing Windows 95 to include Internet Explorer, a program to surf the Internet. On the other hand, at the end of 1997, the company Sun Microsystems sued Microsoft, alleging that it had breached the contract by which it was allowed to use the universal programming language JAVA, of Sun, when introducing improvements only for Windows. In November 1998, a court handed down a judgment against Microsoft for an injunction filed by Sun that same year. This mandate forced Microsoft to check its software to meet the compatibility standards with JAVA. Microsoft appealed the ruling.

In early 1998, Microsoft reached a temporary agreement with the Department of Justice that allowed PC manufacturers to offer a version of Windows 95 without access to Internet Explorer. However, in May 1998, the Department of Justice and twenty states of the United States filed lawsuits against Microsoft for alleged monopolistic practices and for abusing a dominant position in the market to sink the competition. These lawsuits forced Microsoft to sell Windows without Internet Explorer or to include Navigator, the Netscape Communications Corporation’s Web browser, the competition. The demands also forced to modify some contracts and the pricing policy. In June 1998 Microsoft launched Windows 98, which includes integrated features for Internet access. The following month, Bill Gates appointed Steve Ballmer, who was until then executive vice president, and he took over the supervision of Microsoft’s day-to-day business activities. The trial against Microsoft for violating antitrust laws began in October 1998. Executives from Netscape, Sun and many other software and hardware companies testified about their business contracts with Microsoft. In November 1999 the federal court judge, after hearing the summoned witnesses, presented his findings and declared that Microsoft had a monopoly in the operating system market.

In April 2000, the judge made public the judgment against the company for violating antitrust laws by employing tactics that impeded competitiveness. Microsoft appealed the ruling. In 1999 Microsoft paid $ 5 billion to Telco AT & T Corp. to use its Windows CE operating system on devices designed to offer consumers integrated cable TV, telephone and fast Internet access services. In addition, that same year, the company launched Windows 2000, the most updated version of the Windows NT operating system. In January 2000 Bill Gates transferred his position as chief executive (CEO) to Ballmer, a change that has allowed him to focus on the development of new products and technologies.

Windows 2000

Once tested by Microsoft the new features of Plug and Play in the W9X series, and once tested the core stability of Windows NT, Microsoft believes that it is time to integrate everything in a single operating system.

Initially, Windows 2000 was conceived as the successor and integrator of all Windows. The original idea was to incorporate in Windows 2000 the ‘features’ of PnP and other subsystems tested and experienced in the series of Windows to the consumer (9X). Throughout the beta phase of W2000, Microsoft rethought the previous position; I understand that correctly, since the market was not ready yet for a complete transition to NT core, and therefore, the final product that went on the market, followed being a pure NT (improved in many features). In this impass, it was when Microsoft simultaneously developed Windows ME as the last successor to the 16-bit series. In passing, it served to test technologies (System Restore, basic support for new devices such as uPnP and USB 2.0) which should be integrated into the next operating systems. For its part, Windows 2000, not only integrated the new hardware support technologies (PnP) really complete, but also integrated and improved the functionalities defined by the ACPI standards.

The ACPI features are not from Microsoft, but are a market standard in whose definition, participated among others Compaq, Intel and Microsoft, and to which the motherboard manufacturers, agreed to put as a date on December 1, 1998 so that all its new motherboards comply with these regulations. Experience has shown us later that this has not been true and that many of the current motherboards leave much to be desired with respect to compliance with that standard. But nowadays, at least the big manufacturers fit the ACPI characteristics quite well. Another of the great innovations in Windows 2000 was the development of the Active Directory. Actually, the idea was not Microsoft either, but it was an improved implementation of the Novel Directory service.

Services based on the new philosophy of the Active Directory, adjust more in face of the real world to the structure of an organization. From my point of view, the implementation was not completely complete (perhaps the rush to get the product to market). This implementation has been corrected (and improved) in the Windows .NET versions that are currently in the testing phase.At this point in history, it is when it is necessary to permanently abandon developments in 16 bits and seriously consider integration in a single operating system. The basic technologies were already tested and working, so Microsoft embarked on the project that was originally called Whistler.

Windows XP and .NET

The final evolution of W2000 and the integration with some of the subsystems successfully tested in Windows ME, as well as the bug fixes of W2000, has been Windows XP.Obviously, Microsoft, to make the large consumer audience accept this operating system, had to offer a product with extraordinary characteristics since something was going to be lost: part (little) of the old software that accessed directly to the hardware, could not work in an operating system with NT core.The bet of change went through the development of a new “image”. Actually at the beginning, said image “collides”. But the change is quickly assumed and the desktop image, as well as its new visual effects is soon accepted. Likewise, new features had to be provided that would make the home user feel more comfortable with Windows XP. Among them, an improvement of the multimedia capacity, basic recording capacity of CDs, personal firewall, voice support (for USA versions) and other dozens of functionalities that would make XP an appealing product.But not everything will be praises. There is one thing that I do not like at the moment. The development of Whistler has led to two versions with the same core: the XP series and the .NET series.

The latter is still under development and corresponds to the server versions of XP (that is, the evolution of W2000 Server, Advanced Server and Datacenter, in four .NET versions: Server Web, Standard Web, Enterprise Web and Datacenter).Therefore, apparently, Microsoft has decided to disintegrate again its apparent integration of Windows by bringing to market two totally different paths of the operating system. Although it is true that they are oriented to different segments of the market, on a personal level I do not like the idea of ​​this separation. Obviously, and this serves as constructive criticism, I hope that Microsoft will not use this new system software (Windows XP) to experience the later implementations in the high branch of the market (.NET).

Windows Vista and Windows Live

Currently working on the development of the next version of the operating system of this company that will be called Windows Vista. More information on Windows Vista:

  • What awaits us with Windows Vista?
  • Confirmed, the next version will be Windows Vista
  • The Windows Vista code in 12 months

And there have also been statements by Bill Gates regarding Windows Live, a proposal that drives Web 2.0 will convert important Microsoft applications in services through the web.

Microsoft Technical Support For People

Microsoft continues to improve its technical support to make it more accessible to everyone. For some time people with disabilities could call technical support in English and ask for help related to Office and Windows. Those from Redmond have now gone a step further; said technical support is now available in places. Microsoft for more than 20 years has been incorporating certain functionalities in the different versions of its products, which allow people with disabilities to use a computer. The idea is that these products are accessible and flexible so that they adapt easily to the visual, motor, auditory, language or learning needs of the users, regardless of their functional capacities. In the different available products have included screen review tools, an artificial voice device (to narrate), which presents in voice format all the text that appears on the screen, including the names, descriptions of the buttons, menu, texts and punctuation. The user can give orders and enter information without the need of a keyboard or mouse.