Believe it or not Windows is 21 years old on Monday. When it was launched in 1985 the PC market was barely out of it’s infancy, and whatever you may think of Microsoft it is amazing what they Bill Gates & Co have built in such a relatively short time.
Windows has been through many iterations since Windows 1.0 hit the shelves 21 years ago, with the latest and most advanced (and probably the most expensive) Vista due to be launched soon after 5 years of development.
In honour of Windows birthday and to celebrate it’s coming of age, here are 21 things you never knew about Windows, Microsoft and Bill Gates:
1. Windows 1.0 was released on 20th Nov 1985 and the hardware requirements were 256KB of RAM, DOS 2.0 and two floppy drives, two years late.
2. The retail price was $100, which is worth about $177 in today’s money – the same as Windows XP Home.
3. Microsoft sent out a press kit featuring a squeegee and a washcloth to announce the launch of Windows 1.0, a full two years before the product was launched.
4. If Bill Gates had got his way, he would have called it “Interface Manager”. 21 years later, I don’t think Interface Manager Vista, or Vista Interface Manager would have had the same ring to it….
5. When Vista was launched Microsoft were David fighting Goliath, and had to fight many court battles:
“We weren’t kidding that we bet the entire company on it,” Gates recalls. “The strange thing was we were a much smaller company at the time. We were competing to establish this platform with companies larger than ourselves.”
6. Windows 1.0 was only out for two weeks before it had to be patched to fix bugs (sound familiar?).
7. Windows crashes an estimated 25m times a day.
8. Windows 1.0 included a large number of utilities that are still part of Windows today – Calendar, Notepad, Terminal, Calculator, Clock, Windows Write and Windows Paint, Control Panel, and the Reversi game.
9. Support for Windows 1.0 was weak, and even Microsoft’s own apps didn’t support it. In fact, Excel and Word didn’t work with Windows until 1987 and 1989.
10. Windows 3.1 was the first stable release, which led to many hardware manufacturers preloading it on their computers. This proved to be a major turning point in Windows history and world domination.
11. Windows 3.1 (Pre-release name Janus) was released in March of 1992. In its first few months on the shelf it sold over 2 million copies (including upgrades). The Windows 3.1x OSs were groundbreaking for their time and they paved the road for today’s modern Microsoft environments.