Microsoft is now officially 36 years old.
Bill Gates and Paul Allen formed a partnership called Micro-soft on April 4, 1975. The partnership was the beginning of a software giant that now accounts for software on 91% of personal computers worldwide. Despite the formation of Microsoft in 1975, Windows was not introduced until November 20, 1985, over 10 years later. Since the introduction of Windows the operating system has dominated personal computers ever since. Microsoft’s market share worldwide for Windows currently sits at 91%, which is significantly higher than its rivals, Apple and Linux.
However, it hasn’t been all rosy over the past 25 years. Several run-ins with authorities worldwide have forced Microsoft to un-bundle key components of its operating system such as Internet Explorer and more recently Windows Media Player. A notorious court case with the American Department of Justice, which ended in 2001, saw Microsoft forced to share its systems, APIs source code and records with a specially allocated panel of experts. In the years after 2001 it also saw Microsoft un-bundling Internet Explorer from the Windows shell. Microsoft also got into trouble with the European Commission on several occasions. In 2003 the EU ordered Microsoft to provide a version of Windows without Windows Media Player, labeled Windows N. In January 2009 the EU also forced Microsoft to create a version of Windows without Internet Explorer. The company created the version, known as Windows 7 E, but later scrapped it in favor of a “browser ballot” screen that would allow consumers to pick their preferred browser.
Microsoft’s 36 years of existence follows the upcoming publication of Paul Allen’s memoirs. Allen is set to release a new book on April 17 named “Idea man”. The memoirs will detail the early history of Microsoft and the close relationship between Bill Gates and Paul Allen. The book is set to reveal some interesting facts about the early days at Microsoft, including tense situations that led to Allen leaving the company.
Happy Birthday Microsoft, here’s to the next 36 years.