Microsoft celebrates 30 years of PCs by promising a “re-imagined” Windows 8

By Tom Warren, on 10th Aug 11 5:37 pm with 51 Comments

Microsoft is celebrating 30 years of the IBM PC.

The software giant’s chief of communications, Frank Shaw, penned a blog post on Wednesday looking back on the past 30 years of personal computing. IBM first introduced the IBM 5150 PC in New York City on August 12, 1981. A number of competitors followed including personal computers from Apple, Commodore and Tandy. “The introduction of the IBM PC was a defining moment for our industry,” said Shaw. “Once IBM entered the market with a system running the Microsoft Disk Operating System, MS-DOS, our industry really began to realize the dream of a PC on every desk and in every home.”

Microsoft seized the opportunity for software in a hardware personal computing world. “Thirty years ago, Microsoft believed that making technology less expensive and more widely available would open up amazing opportunities for people and organizations to achieve their dreams,” added Shaw.

Shaw also addressed comments from Apple CEO Steve Jobs about a “post-PC” era. “People sometimes ask me about what Microsoft thinks about the post-PC era,” said Shaw, noting that he prefers to consider it a PC-plus era given there will be 400 million PCs sold this year. “We continue to build great software, and our software’s value is expressed in the consumer and enterprise devices and services we deliver to our customers”, he added.

Shaw also promises a re-imagined next-generation of Windows, currently codenamed Windows 8:

Experiences that’ll combine increasingly powerful and specialized devices with cloud services that’ll make it breathtakingly simple to create, organize, share, find, analyze and archive information, from documents and presentations, to photos, videos, podcasts and so much more.

We have a unique point of view when it comes to this future of devices and services. I’m looking forward to our upcoming BUILD conference in Anaheim, Calif., Sept. 12-15, where developers will hear more about how we’ve re-imagined Windows, from the chip set to the user experience, for this new world.

  • Anonymous

    Very cool. 

    God I hate how Steve Jobs’ 15 seconds of words turns into a slogan. Apple is so self-centered. Microsoft really just needs to re-image itself with Windows 8… at least I hope so.

    • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

      An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but cider still makes you drunk.

      When Jobs referred to a post PC world, I think he mainly means two things.
      1) A post Desktop OS world and 
      2) A post Windows world because most desktops/laptops run Microsoft’s software.

      With windows running on server, surface, PC’s tablets, phones and the TV via Xbox, The world wont see the end of windows any time soon.

    • Justthefacts

      If you’re Steve Jobs and control just 4-5% of the ww market for PCs after a couple decades of effort, including the recent stellar growth of Macbooks, you have every incentive in promoting a post PC world where you, and not MS, sit at the center.

      It was brilliant marketing, and there’s also some reality there in that the PC increasingly isn’t the center of industry attention any more and will soon be surpassed in volume by mobile and eventually perhaps tablets.

  • Mark

    Great speech. But it’s long past time for MS to stop promising unparalleled experiences and better competitiveness and start delivering it, along with the marketing, hardware, and distribution to turn it into market share gains. 

    As we sit right now, they gave up a ten year head start in mobile to Apple. Repeated that mistake in tablets, and still have no competitive answer after nearly two years. Shaw and the rest of MS leadership better take their heads out of the stand and start acknowledging their mistakes and fixing them instead of pretending everything is going well.  

    • Aaron

      Microsoft does have some obvious problems, especially in mobile, that is true.  But lets keep some perspective.  Before you say the leadership is a bunch of idiot failures who have driven the company into the ground, try to remember they just had record breaking quarter results.  I’m not saying everything is great and they haven’t missed chances, but it seems people forget that MS is still a strong AND growing powerhouse.  With Windows 8, nokia+mango, skype/kinect/cloud integration, 3 screens and a cloud, it looks like a lot of visions will be coming true.  I think 2012 will be an amazing year for Microsoft and hopefully vindicate Balmer and the rest of the leadership.

    • Mark

      Here’s what you didn’t say about those record breaking results. Overall growth has slowed to 10% or less while Apple, a now larger company, reported a 70% increase. Windows, the #1 revenue and profit driver for MS declined for the 3rd consecutive quarter. Yeah, it’s hard for me not to conclude that MS’s CEO and senior leadership generally are a “bunch of idiot failures” when in a decade they have been surpassed on revenue, profit, market cap, growth, and relevance, by a company that was nearly bankrupt at the beginning of that period and has spent on average 1/10th as much on R&D annually as MS.

      Sorry, MS has major problems, not the least of which is a repeated inability to win in new markets. Growth in the cash cows is clearly waning. So they can no longer afford failure in just about everything else.

      I’d like to see them succeed. But you don’t get there by closing your eyes to reality or pretending, as they are, that it doesn’t exist.

    • http://www.facebook.com/richeymeister Mark Richey

      I’m not sure you can say Apple is a larger company. What I think is epic fail is that we were told that Google was going to release us from devices and operating systems, and it just is not and likely will not happen. Microsoft for more than a decade has been working towards integration of devices and appliances and with the most recent moves and the prospect of the new Win8 operating system, it looks like it may finally be bearing fruit. MS makes software and OS products that run on multiple platforms, including Mac. Apple makes….Well, Apple makes Apples. Success is also measured by how others embrace your product and environment. Hands down, more fortunes are made on the backs of Microsoft than either Apple or Google. More software designed for, more systems compatible with, more corporations relying upon MS than any competitor or open source. iPod, iPad and iPhone are phenominal successes and do dominate (though that is changing as well) those niches. iPhone is the largest single seller of smartphones now, but Android is installed on more and dominates the market. Now. But all this changes in a heartbeat and they all know it. Including MS.

    • Mark
    • Aaron

      Mark, I appreciate that you want to light a fire under the feet of Balmer and the others.  However, I honestly do think you are overstating the Microsoft vs Apple comparison.  First of all, Microsoft is not failing just because Apple has higher profits.  A company fails when it becomes unprofitable.  Second, I know this may sound crazy given Apple’s currently astronomical profit margins, but I see Microsoft as the stronger corporation because they are so diversified.  Apple has one real cash cow, iOS.  Microsoft has Windows, Office, Server and Tools, xbox and kinect.  Also, while Apple has the current hit products, iphone and ipad, i see far more shots coming from Microsoft.  Kinect, WP7, surface, nokia + mango, Skype.  I think 2012 will be very interesting because with Windows 8, Microsoft will attempt to converge phone, tablet, and desktop experiences with Windows 8.  IF they can pull it off, that would be a serious threat to the only cash cow that Apple has, iOS.  Of coarse Apple will always have a core set of fans and media hype to help them out.

    • Mark

      Aaron, there are many ways to fail outside of becoming unprofitable. Indeed the latter is most often the result of ignoring the former for an extended period of time. MS has been failing in ways large and small for a decade. There have been numerous product failures, including in the core product Windows (Longhorn, Vista). There have been many failed acquisitions, including aQuantive, Danger, the aborted Yahoo bid, and at least half a dozen others.  There has been a major stock price failure, whereby half the company’s value has been erased. Most recently MS has failed in two markets it helped pioneer: smartphones and tablets, mostly through arrogance, competitive misjudgment of epic proportions and a ridiculous delayed response.

      If MS’s business didn’t entirely overlap Apple’s (and then some), I would agree with you that Apple’s success != MS’s failure. But MS is a competitor in every market Apple serves. And the count so far is Apple 3 (iPod, iPhone, iPad), and MS 0. Even in PCs, MS has been steadily losing share to OS X since Vista. I disagree that MS is the stronger corporation right now. Apple is just as diversified in terms of where profit is coming from. It has a lot more cash. It’s growing at 7x the rate. It’s stock is a leader and looks to continue being one, thereby allowing them more flexibility with respect to how they recruit and retain employees, etc. Apple also controls its destiny pretty much directly through its online and retail presence. MS is mostly dependent on partners and OEMs, many of whom have stated to embrace competitors like Google and Android, as we’ve seen in mobile and tablets. I agree that 2012 will be interesting. It’s make or break time for MS’s future. If they don’t get back into mobile and tablets and do far better in search, including turning massive losses into profits, then it’s hard to see a bright future for the company. Apple’s risk is that iPhone loses its “it” status to Android or NewPhoneX. That could happen, but then iPad is rapidly growing for them and within a year or two might be able to take up the slack, as iPhone did when iPod sales topped. The other thing they have going for them is that they’re still a relatively minor player on the world stage, so there’s plenty of room to grow. MS’s challenge is they already dominate in most countries and in those with the greatest potential for growth (China, India, Brasil, to a lesser extent Russia), MS faces a large piracy challenge and now the possibility that many consumers (at least) will bypass the PC and head straight to smartphone or tablet as their device of choice.

    • Ostanciaux

      I’m an Apple developper in my company and I can say that the true fact that can explain MS is and will stay the real leader is that developpers (and I talk about real developpers, not some geek who success to print “Hello World” with code he copy/paste from the internet) still prefer MS developpement tools. If you see the chart it comes larger first then comes linux developpement tools (with emacs at top) and only after comes Apple developpement tools.
      As an Apple developper, I’m always surprised when I make a software with Apple developpement tools in a week but make the same software with MS developpement tools in only one day and seems to be more reactive and takes less memory !
      THAT is the real reason why MS leads and will continue to lead in everything that can be near digital applications !

    • RedStarDev

      That is a ignorant position you appear to hold for most developers I know who have any skills at all favor developing for where there is the greatest opportunity which if you ask that is for iOS then Android, and then HTM5 

      http://images.six.betanews.com/media/7702.png

    • Ostanciaux

      Yes, this is the need of developpers in market. It’s right and it’s the reason why I’m an iOS developper.
      But what I was talking about is the preferences of developpers on developpement tools. Neither was I talking about programming languages because we can program with any languages on any developpement tools.

    • Ostanciaux

      Yes, this is the need of developpers in market. It’s right and it’s the reason why I’m an iOS developper.
      But what I was talking about is the preferences of developpers on developpement tools. Neither was I talking about programming languages because we can program with any languages on any developpement tools.

    • RedStarDev

      So we agree that developers have no does not have loyalty because of SDK but are driven by opportunity and that you earlier statement that MS leadership positioned is assured because of developers favoritism is at best a wishful statement and worst down right silly.

    • Guest

      Yeah 20% market share is a failure. Plenty of companies would want that.

    • Guest

      > And the count so far is Apple 3 (iPod, iPhone, iPad), and MS 0
      3:0 you say? How about Windows vs MacOSX? How about Windows Server vs MacOSX Server? How about Xbox vs AppleTV? Visual Studio vs XCode? Live vs MobileMe? Apple tried and failed to compete here. How about all those thing where Apple doesn’t even have anything. Like gaming part of Xbox or Exchange or Sharepoint (all $1B businesses).

      Seems to me you are *a bit* biased

    • Guest

      What’s more, Microsoft actually does have really strong products to compete with iPod/iPhone/iPad (will they become successful – I don’t know, but many analysts say they will), how does Apple plan to compete for, say, living room (big screen entertainment in general).

    • Guest

      What’s more, Microsoft actually does have really strong products to compete with iPod/iPhone/iPad (will they become successful – I don’t know, but many analysts say they will), how does Apple plan to compete for, say, living room (big screen entertainment in general).

    • Guest

      Your right other then xbox where they had to buy there way into any success, MS has no reason to be in half the markets they are in, they should stick to window, office and enterprise and stop wasting profits by failing to compete effectively in all the others.  

      BTW Apple iOS is currently the leading gaming development platform 

      http://www.lazygamer.net/xbox-360/is-apple-going-to-kill-the-next-generation-of-consoles/

    • Guest

      “Buy their way, bla-bla-bla”. Not like both MacOSX and iOS are actually based (bought) on NeXTSTEP which is based on externally developed Mach and BSD.

      “Failing to compete, bla-bla-bla”. Not like Apple is a one trick pony: “you can have iPhone with or without GSM module. Oh, you can even have 10″ screen iPhone”. Why the hell do they try to compete in OS, Enterprise and even Cloud/Social networks markets?

    • Guest

      “Buy their way, bla-bla-bla”. Not like both MacOSX and iOS are actually based (bought) on NeXTSTEP which is based on externally developed Mach and BSD.

      “Failing to compete, bla-bla-bla”. Not like Apple is a one trick pony: “you can have iPhone with or without GSM module. Oh, you can even have 10″ screen iPhone”. Why the hell do they try to compete in OS, Enterprise and even Cloud/Social networks markets?

    • Guest

      > BTW Apple iOS is currently the leading gaming development platform 
      BTW it’s a good idea to actually back up claims like this with something.

    • Guest

      You’re assuming that they won’t deliver already. If they are doing it, they can claim they will. I know you are an Apple fan in disguise and I’ve already told you that if you don’t stop trolling MS then Apple will become marginalized in 10 years.

  • http://twitter.com/oolong2 oolong2

    It’s all PC…  Tablets are PCs, Smart Phones and Dumb Phones are PCs, Music players are PCs, Game consoles are PCs.

    Anything that has an operating system and runs applications is a PC in my book.   Just because you use a touch screen on one and a touch pad on another doesn’t make a damn bit of difference.

    • Aaron

      Your definition may be a little too broad.  Music Players?  Is my calculator a PC?  Sure they are all devices with processors that run computations, but calling anything with an OS a Personal Computer is too far of a stretch.

      As for tablets, its hard to define them.  I see iPads as consumption devices and while they theoretically can act as a full computer, I would hardly look at them in the same light as my desktop or laptop.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001990736337 Baka Chan

      Anything that computes is a Computer… and PC = Personal computer. The form factor is the difference. The MacBook is a PC and so is iPad.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001990736337 Baka Chan

      Anything that computes is a Computer… and PC = Personal computer. The form factor is the difference. The MacBook is a PC and so is iPad.

    • Paul

      Tablets, yes. Smartphones, directionally yes. Game consoles, yes. Music players, and anything that has an OS, no. My router runs Linux, it’s not a PC by any stretch of the imagination.

    • Justfortherecord

      Its a computer that is used for personal use. Get your mind out of the gutter you completely missed the forest for the trees. A person computer does not denote in a singular sense just a  Monitor and keyboard. A person computer is anything that computes and is used for personal use. Your calculator is a personal computer…. Computers does not denote an electronic piece of circuitry as an abacus is a computer. Paul, Aaron you need to be removed from your computers you fit the typical PEBKAC (problem exists between keyboard and chair).

      I think people who dont grasp technology need Intro to Computers 101 make it mandatory.

    • Justfortherecord

      Its a computer that is used for personal use. Get your mind out of the gutter you completely missed the forest for the trees. A person computer does not denote in a singular sense just a  Monitor and keyboard. A person computer is anything that computes and is used for personal use. Your calculator is a personal computer…. Computers does not denote an electronic piece of circuitry as an abacus is a computer. Paul, Aaron you need to be removed from your computers you fit the typical PEBKAC (problem exists between keyboard and chair).

      I think people who dont grasp technology need Intro to Computers 101 make it mandatory.

    • Guest

      Definition of PERSONAL COMPUTER
      : a general-purpose computer equipped with a microprocessor and designed to run especially commercial software (as a word processor or Internet browser) for an individual user (webster’s).

  • DonJulio088

    “Repeated that mistake in tablets, and still have no competitive answer after nearly two years.”  Do you live under a rock?  Take a look at the ASUS and the Acer tablets in stock at the Microsoft Stores.  These are real PC tablets, not enlarged phones that cant make calls.  Get a clue please before posting nonsense.

    • Mark

      How are those “real” tablets doing against iPad and Android tablets out in the real world of unit sales?

      If you have nothing to add except fanboy drivel, then do us all a favor and simply stfu.

    • Wourelia

      So, whether a product is good or not is based on sales? I consider a Bentley being a better car than a Toyota, yet Toyota sells more cars.

    • Mark

      No, whether it’s successful or not is. And ultimately that’s what it’s about: commercial success. Especially for MS whose business is based on being the volume supplier not the niche one.

    • Anonymous

      I understand your point and while it’s a good one, I’m gonna have to nitpick your analogy. Toyota is one of the best made, most reliable vehicles on the road. This also includes Lexus as Toyota’s luxury line.

      Toyota will always outsell Bentley if for no other reason than you can by 10-13 fully loaded Camrys for the price of one Bentley. Anyway, good point, nonetheless.

      On another note, Android tablets actually aren’t seling that well. Windows 8 tablets, if they are what they are supposed to be, should outsell android tablets. We’ll see about the ipad. But, if they can prove to be more functional than said ipad, they should catch up soon enough.

    • Guest

      Please.  Those are junk

  • Aaron

    It would be awesome if Microsoft could celebrate the anniversary with some more videos of Windows 8.

  • http://twitter.com/juanda95 Juan David Sánchez

    I can’t wait to see (and use :P) Windows 8, I hope it’ll be amazing.

    • Paul

      As a user I hope so too. But it’s also critical for the sake of MS, its employees, partners, and shareholders. If they don’t get this one right, thereby solidifying their hold in PCs and getting them back into the tablet game, they’re in serious trouble.

    • Paul

      As a user I hope so too. But it’s also critical for the sake of MS, its employees, partners, and shareholders. If they don’t get this one right, thereby solidifying their hold in PCs and getting them back into the tablet game, they’re in serious trouble.

  • DonJulio088

    “How are those “real” tablets doing against iPad and Android tablets out in the real world of unit sales?”
    While you are out and about from that rock, why dont you check android tablet sales?  Failure…
    iPads sell to fanboys like you.  Sure MS was late to the game but the product is far superior to what the sheep are currently buying.  Funny that your phone does more than your tablet.  Good investment.

  • DonJulio088

    “How are those “real” tablets doing against iPad and Android tablets out in the real world of unit sales?”
    While you are out and about from that rock, why dont you check android tablet sales?  Failure…
    iPads sell to fanboys like you.  Sure MS was late to the game but the product is far superior to what the sheep are currently buying.  Funny that your phone does more than your tablet.  Good investment.

  • Guest

    Interesting that on the same day that MS’s CVP of Corporate Communications blogs about his confidence in MS’s future, Apple officially becomes the most valuable company in the world at the market close, Gartner predicts that W7 is “likely to be the last version of Microsoft OS that gets deployed to everybody
    through big corporate wide migration,” and MS is down 5.39% compared to the Nasdaq’s 4.09.

    Guess there’s more to winning than just thinking happy thoughts…

    • Anonymous

      Wow…it sounded more like his confidence in the future of Windows more than anything else. Nice way to take a very successful product  and the worlds most used OS and turn it into a Wallstreet discussion.

  • http://twitter.com/Exyaster Mykal Joseph Day

    It’s about time that they re-image Windows. I love my taskbar in Window 7, but it has been basicly the same design the past few decades. I think that the new features and layout will be appealing to the eye for either a laptop or tablet.

    In my opinion a tablet is a PC and that Microsoft’s approach to marry a phone like interface with the power of a normal computer sounds great. Think that this is the right idea and seems like Apple is starting to go a similar route with Mac OS X Lion.

  • Herb Monroe

    Hello Tom. I’m just curious about the line “A number of competitors followed including personal computers from Apple, Commodore and Tandy.”

    As I recall, the Commodore PET, Apple IIe, Tandy TRS-80 and a variety of other personal computers predated IBM’s entry into the market.

    Was that your remark, or a rewording from the blog?

    Obviously, Commodore and Tandy continued to release products well into the 80′s and Apple has never stopped.

  • Krishen

    Shaw said that Apple, Commodore and Tandy PCs came before the 5150, not after.