The History of Microsoft

Building 92 at Microsoft Corporation headquarters in Redmond.

Microsoft is one of the few companies that have surpassed the trillion-dollar valuation mark. This entity was also the first software company to hit $1 billion in revenues.

Microsoft develops, sells, licenses, and supports many software and hardware products across multiple sectors and industries.

The company’s products are used worldwide in homes and large organizations.

Here is a look into Microsoft’s history, from its humble origins in Albuquerque to how it became the giant corporation we know today.

The History of Microsoft Corporation

Bill Gates and Paul Allen, two childhood friends, founded Microsoft on April 4, 1975, to develop software for the first personal computer, Altair 8800.

The two founders chose Albuquerque, New Mexico, as their operations base since this city was also the headquarters of MITS, the manufacturer of the Altair 8800.

Both founders made career sacrifices to establish Microsoft. Allen resigned from his programming job in Boston, and Gates dropped out of Harvard University.

Microsoft made $16,000 in its first year.

Microsoft made its first million in revenue in 1978. A year later, the company relocated its headquarters to Bellevue, Washington, after struggling to find programming talent in Albuquerque.

Joining the PC Market

Although Microsoft attained initial success by producing software for the Altair 8800, this computer was rapidly replaced by new and better models.

Microsoft’s software for Altair 8800 was not enough to give the company a footing in the PC market. Fortunately, Microsoft found its breakthrough during a meeting with IBM to develop an operating system.

Microsoft developed MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) for IBM PCs, which debuted in 1981. This operating system didn’t have a graphical user interface.

Users had to type in commands to perform a function or open a program. IBM sold its PCs in large numbers, and since every computer came with Microsoft’s OS, Microsoft made millions in royalties, and its name spread across the industry.

The Debut of Windows

Microsoft launched its first Windows operating system in 1985. This OS had a graphical user interface and was better than its predecessor, MS-DOS.

By this time, Allen had resigned from Microsoft, leaving the company’s management to Bill Gates.

Microsoft continued developing better versions of Microsoft Windows. The company launched Windows 3.0 in 1990. This operating system had a better user interface and came with Microsoft Office packages.

Microsoft also launched Windows 95, which came with a start menu and 32-bit support, in 1995. In 1998, the company released Windows 98. The highlight of this operating system was that it came with Microsoft’s integrated web browser, Internet Explorer.

Microsoft kept releasing new versions of Microsoft Windows, with Windows 2000 debuting in 2000, Windows XP in 2001, Windows Vista in 2007, and Windows 7 in 2009.

The company released Windows 8 in 2012, Windows 10 in 2015, and Windows 11 in 2021.

The Launch of Microsoft Office

Microsoft launched Microsoft Office in 1989. The software package came with multiple software products, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft Excel, bundled into it.

The company released its earliest version of Microsoft Word in 1983. Customers found this word-processing software more intuitive and easier to use than the ones on the market at the time.

Microsoft created Excel in 1985 and, in 1987, acquired Forethought Inc. for about $14 million. Forethought owned rights to a slide presentation software that later became Microsoft PowerPoint.

Microsoft Office is now one of the most popular and widely used office productivity software. It contains about 15 software products, including Outlook and Skype, which Microsoft purchased for $8.5 billion in 2011.

Entering the Internet Realm

Microsoft joined the internet industry late. The company released Internet Explorer after seeing the success of Netscape Navigator.

It offered Internet Explorer for free, while Netscape and other technology companies charged customers for their web browsers.

Microsoft also integrated Internet Explorer into the Windows OS, thus making its web browser the most popular and widely used. The company discontinued Internet Explorer in June 2022 to focus on Microsoft Edge.

Joining the Video Gaming Industry

Microsoft entered the video gaming market in 2001 with the release of the Xbox gaming console.

Xbox quickly became one of the most widely used gaming consoles in the United States. By this time, Bill Gates had resigned as CEO and president of Microsoft. Steve Balmer became the new Microsoft CEO in 2000.

The company later launched the Xbox Live service in 2002. This gaming service allowed players to play alone or connect with other online players and buy or download new gaming content.

In 2005, Microsoft released the Xbox 360 to compete with other giant competitors such as Sony’s PlayStation.

The company later released better Xbox versions, including Xbox 360 S in 2010, Xbox 360 E in 2013, Xbox One S in 2016, and Xbox One X in 2017.

Entering the Phone Market Industry

In 2001, Microsoft launched the Windows Mobile OS. The company then licensed this operating system to be used by multiple phone manufacturers, including Samsung, LG, and HTC. Windows Mobile OS was also used in Microsoft Lumia, a mobile phone created by Microsoft.

Moving Into Cloud Computing

Microsoft moved into cloud computing in 2008 with the release of Windows Azure. This software allowed users to build computing infrastructure on the cloud.

Microsoft Azure soon became the leading brand in the cloud computing industry. The company also released Microsoft OneDrive, a cloud file-hosting service, in 2007.

Timeline.Microsoft Corporation Company Timeline


Microsoft gets founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen.


Microsoft moves its headquarters from Albuquerque to Bellevue, Washington.


Bill Gates and Paul Allen officially incorporate Microsoft, renaming it Microsoft Corporation Inc. The company develops MS-DOS for IBM PCs.


Paul Allen leaves Microsoft. The company launches the first version of Microsoft Word.


Microsoft launches Windows.


Microsoft relocates to Redmond, Washington, and goes public with an IPO of $21 per share.


Microsoft releases its first version of Microsoft Office.


Microsoft launches Windows 3.0.


Microsoft launches Windows 95 and Internet Explorer.


Microsoft launches Windows 98.


Steve Balmer becomes Microsoft’s new CEO after Bill Gates steps down. The company releases Windows 2000.


Microsoft introduces Office XP, Windows XP, and the Xbox game console.


Microsoft releases Xbox 360.


Microsoft releases Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007.


Microsoft launches Windows SQL server and Visual Studio 2008.


Microsoft introduces Bing, a search engine.


Microsoft releases Office 365 and acquires Skype.


Microsoft launches Outlook and Office 2013.


Satya Nadella becomes Microsoft’s new CEO. The company acquires Nokia.


Microsoft releases Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge.


Microsoft launches Microsoft Dynamics 365 and acquires LinkedIn.


Microsoft introduces HoloLens 2 and Xbox Series X.


Microsoft discontinues Internet Explorer.

Explore More About Microsoft

You will find links that allow you to learn more about Microsoft here. Since most links lead to search results, you will always have the latest and most popular information at your fingertips.


You can learn more about Microsoft by clicking the link below. Here are some interesting facts about Microsoft that we thought you might find interesting.

  1. The name “Microsoft” came from the words “microcomputer” and “software.” Gates and Allen initially named the company Micro-soft before changing it to Microsoft.
  2. Gates and Allen designed the original Microsoft logo in one day.
  3. Bill Gates initially wanted the Windows OS to be called Interface Manager. However, Microsoft’s marketing department convinced him to pick the name Windows.
  4. Microsoft owns more than 70,000 patents and at least 50,000 active ones. The company acquired most of its patents through business acquisitions.

Search Results – Facts About Microsoft

Impact on Society

Several of Microsoft’s software products have changed the way the world works.

You can view in-depth articles about Microsoft’s effects on society by clicking the link below.

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Every company has setbacks, and you can view the ones Microsoft faced and how the management team handled each of them.

Sometimes there are valuable lessons to be learned.

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Naturally, the company has had tremendous successes, and from the link below, you can learn in-depth information about each of the major successes of Microsoft.

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Lessons Learned from Microsoft Corporation

There are lessons to be learned from the success and failures of Microsoft.

By going through the search results from the link below, you can study as many of them as you want.

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Microsoft Corporation Executive Team

Many companies may have good timing or get into a hot market, but it comes back to the management team, no matter the situation.

If a company has had a lot of success, the management team can still make the wrong decisions that lead to problems. Therefore the success of a company is due to the management team.

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Working at Microsoft Corporation

When you look at employee reviews, you’ll get an idea of the strength of the management team. Of course, even a great company can’t make every employee happy, but most employees will have a positive experience.

See the link below for a review of employees that have worked at Microsoft.

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Complaints and Lawsuits

The bigger the company, the bigger the lawsuits, and Microsoft has its fair share, including problems with the Government.

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If you want, you can gain an overview of Microsoft’s financials, whether you’re interested in investing in the company or just curious. Since Microsoft is a public company, it must post periodic financial statements.

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Company Assessment

From the link below, you’ll gain access to reviews and predictions of how the company is performing and where it’s headed based on current market factors.

Search Results – Microsoft Corporation performance, trends, and assessment.


There are books about Microsoft you can find on Amazon if you want to get into more details about the company.

View the most recent books related to Microsoft Corporation on Amazon.


You can always find something related to Microsoft. Using a site like Google News allows you to view the latest about Microsoft and the option to add an alert for notifications any time something new is published.

See Google’s News search results related to The Microsoft Corporation.


YouTube offers many videos related to Microsoft or its products and services. When watching a video, keep an eye out for related videos on your screen because these can suggest topics you may not have considered.

See the most recent videos related to The Microsoft Corporation.