The history of Microsoft is a colorful one, dating back over three decades. In that time, the software company has grown from the outlandish ideas of a nerdy boy to a massive technology empire led by—at one point—the world’s wealthiest man. This is a retrospective look at Bill Gate's career at Microsoft – past, present, and future.
In 1975, a Harvard student, Bill Gates, (and Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen) devised an innovative idea to utilize the latest and greatest computer of his day: the Altair 8800. This computer was truly a marvel of engineering, as it could contain 256 bytes of information on its memory board, enough to store 1024 words. Bill Gates saw the opportunity to implement the BASIC programming language with the 8800. When he presented this idea to the creators of the Altair, they agreed to market their product with Gates’ implementation. The result was that Microsoft was formed, and first established in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Just three years later, Microsoft’s success was so great that they were able to expand with their first international office in Japan. A few months later, they moved their headquarters from New Mexico to Bellevue, Washington. In another year, Steve Ballmer joined the Microsoft team, and would later succeed Bill Gates as CEO of Microsoft.
Successful as Microsoft’s first few years were, it gained true notoriety in 1981 when it landed a major deal with IBM to develop an operating system. The result was DOS (Disk Operating System). IBM used Microsoft’s development in their computers as PC-DOS. However, although IBM derived great initial benefit from their investment in Microsoft, their long-term gains were not so impressive.
After IBM’s success, clones flooded the market, running on Microsoft’s new operating system, MS-DOS. Essentially, IBM’s new competitors were able to offer the exact same product without any of the initial development and research costs that IBM invested in Microsoft. Microsoft’s early business practices with MS-DOS catapulted the organization into the software development market as one of the top competitors.
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