of the Modern Computer
The History of Microsoft
On November 10, 1983, at the Plaza
Hotel in New York City, Microsoft Corporation formally announced Microsoft
Windows, a next-generation operating system that would provide a graphical
user interface (GUI) and multitasking environment for IBM computers. Microsoft
promised that the new program would be on the shelf by April 1984. It might
have been released under the original name of Interface Manager if Microsoft's
marketing whiz, Rowland Hanson, had not convinced Microsoft founder Bill
Gates that Windows was the better name.
That same November, Bill Gates showed
a beta version of Windows to IBM's head honchos. Their response was lackluster,
perhaps because IBM was also working on its own product called Top View.
They did not give Microsoft the same encouragement for Windows that they
in 1981, the first highly successful operating system that Microsoft wrote
for the IBM-PC.
Top View was released in February
1985, as a DOS-based multitasking program manager without any GUI features.
IBM promised that future versions of Top View would have a GUI. The promise
was never kept, and the program was discontinued barely two years later.
No doubt, Bill Gates realized how
profitable a successful GUI for IBM computers would be. He had seen Apple's
computer and later the more successful
computer. Both Apple computers came with a stunning graphical user
Early MS-DOS diehards liked to refer to MacOS as 'WIMP' - the Windows,
Icons, Mice and Pointers interface.
Microsoft's Windows faced potential
competition from IBM's own Top View, and there were others. VisiCorp's
short-lived VisiOn, released in October 1983, was the official first PC-based
GUI. The second was GEM (Graphics Environment Manager), released by Digital
Research in early 1985. Both GEM and VisiOn lacked support from the all-important
third-party developers--and, if nobody wanted to write software programs
for an operating system, nobody would want to buy it.
Microsoft finally shipped Windows
1.0 on November 20, 1985, almost two years past the initially promised
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