Top 10 Facts – Microsoft

In 1969, two teenage boys named Bill Gates and
Paul Allen met for the first time. They where both interested in programming and the emerging
industry of personal computers. A few years later, in 1975, the two childhood friends
established the company Micro-Soft, with a hyphen. The name is a portmanteau of the words
microcomputer and software. In 1980, the company entered the industry of operating systems
with their own version of Unix called Xenix. But their first major breakthrough came with
the release of MS-DOS in 1981. After a few years of battling against IBM’s PC-DOS, Microsoft
eventually came out as the leading provider. At this point, most operating systems looked
like this. A black screen where you could execute commands and in return would receive
some nice text. Absolutely fantastic for it’s time no doubt, but not very interesting to the average
person. So in 1985 Microsoft released a graphical extension to MS-DOS. Bill Gates almost named
it “Interface Manager” but the head of marketing convinced him of naming it “Windows” instead.
At first, Windows was not that popular and rival company Apple took the lead. But this
would soon change. Windows 3.0 became the first widely successful version of Windows
and a strong competitor to Apple’s Mac OS. In 1990, Microsoft introduced the now wildly
successful Microsoft Office with software like Word and Excel. Windows 95 became a huge
success for the company and introduced features like the start menu and Internet Explorer.
From here on out, Windows would continue to completely dominate the market and as such
Microsoft was often accused of monopolization. At the start of the new millennium, Microsoft
entered video game console market with the Xbox to compete against Sony and Nintendo.
While the Xbox could not really keep up with the Playstation 2, it was nonetheless a success
selling millions of units. In more recent years, the perception of Microsoft and especially
Windows has been a bit unstable. For example, Windows Vista sold well but is considered
by many to be one of the worst operating systems ever made by Microsoft. Windows 7 rekindled
the brand but Windows 8 once again received heavy criticism for many of its significant
changes. But despite a few minor setback here and there, Microsoft is still one of the most
valuable brands in the world. Since 2012, Microsoft has undergone a major
rebranding to coincide with the release of Windows 8. One major change was made to the
logo of the company. For the first time a version of the famous Windows logo was included
in the official Microsoft logo. But the four tiles are more than
an icon for Windows. Each tile are supposed to stand for; Windows (blue), Office (red),
Xbox (green), and Bing (Yellow). And the logo isn’t exactly new either as it has been used before.
For example, in this Windows 95 commercial. When preparing to launch Windows XP back in
2001, Microsoft wanted a catchy slogan to go along with it. They eventually settled
for “Prepare to Fly” and began printing all promotional material and covers and so on.
Then 9/11 happened and suddenly the slogan wasn’t as catchy anymore. Because of this,
Microsoft had to spend over $200 million, just to change to slogan to “Yes You Can”
instead. Around the mid to late 1990s, Internet Explorer
quickly became the standard browser all across the globe since it came bundled with the operating
system. And by 2002, it reached its peak of a staggering 95% market share. Then something
happened. New browsers like Opera and Firefox slowly began eating away at Microsoft’s browser
monopoly. This got Microsoft a bit worried so to counteract this decline, they employed
some pretty foul tactics. For example, in 2001 it was revealed that Microsoft had purposely
made msn.com either inaccessible or incorrectly displayed on the Opera browser. This was so
that Opera users would hopefully switch over to Internet Explorer instead. While Microsoft has
never responded to the accusations, Opera Software retaliated by releasing a so called
“bork” edition of Opera 7. This special version would only display msn.com using the incomprehensible language made famous by the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show. Every website and service with users and profile
pictures has one of these. A default avatar. It’s usually just a standard silhouette of
a person or whatever YouTube is going for. Anyway one version
of Microsoft’s email client, namely Outlook 2010, uses this icon. It’s interesting because
this is actually a silhouette of Bill Gates from 1977 when he was arrested for speeding
and driving without a license. When Microsoft introduced the first version
of Windows Update shortly after the release of Windows 98, they named the software “Critical
Update Notification Tool”. However, they soon had to change this to “Critical Update Notification
Utility” given the unfortunate acronym created by the former. The default wallpaper used for Windows XP
is, or at least was, one of the most recognizable images in the world. The photograph, named
Bliss, was taken by former National Geographic photographer Charles O’Rear and was captured
here in Sonoma County in California in 1996. While many believed the image to be photoshopped,
it is in fact the raw unaltered original. After he’d taken the photo, he put it up for
sale on the stock image site Corbis. And Corbis is in fact owned by Bill Gates himself. So
around 2000, Microsoft contacted O’Rear and wanted to buy all the rights to the image.
And while the exact amount has never been disclosed, it been said to be one of the largest
payments ever made for a single photograph. If you where to visit the site today however,
you would most likely not recognize it as the green hill is now covered with grapevines. Before Microsoft launched their new search
engine in 2009 they needed a short and memorable name. Eventually, they decided to use Bang.
But they had to rethink this decision rather quickly as it didn’t work as well when used
as verb. As in “Let me just bang that real quick.” They changed Bang into Bing and while
Google is of course at the top, Bing is still one of the largest search engines in the world. Large corporations like Microsoft are known
to take copyright and trademark infringement very seriously. Sometimes however, they seem
to take it a bit too seriously. Back in 2004, a teenager named Mike Rowe registered the
domain MikeRoweSoft.com. So phonetically, when said out loud, it almost sounds like
you’re saying Microsoft. Only based on this, Microsoft decided to take legal action against
Mike Rowe and the whole thing received world wide media attention. The website itself had
nothing to do with Microsoft or any of their products as he used it to run his own part-time
web design business. But eventually, an agreement was reached, with Mike Rowe granting ownership
of the domain to Microsoft in exchange for various Microsoft products, including an Xbox.
Ah 2004.. When an Xbox could solve anything. Simpler times. Back when Windows made its debut, things
were simple. The first release named Windows 1.01 was indeed version 1.01. Makes sense.
And it continued to make sense for quite a while. The name and actual version of the
software matched each other. Then they started using names like Windows 95, 98, NT, ME, 2000,
XP, and Vista, and things got a bit more confusing. Windows Vista is actually version 6.0. Windows
7 is 6.1, Windows 8 is 6.2, and 8.1 is 6.3. Now the logical thing would be to expect the
next release to be named Windows 9 with a version number of 6.4. But instead they announced
this.. Windows 10? Why skip the nein? Microsoft’s official explanation is that this new release
of Windows will, form here on out, be Windows. In other words, each new update will just
have a new version number and not a new name. Another possibility though is that the name Windows
9 could cause issues for some legacy applications. Thousands of programs could be using code
like this to check what version of Windows it’s running on. Basically, it’s checking
if the name includes a 9 and if it does it means it’s either Windows 95 or 98. But if
Windows 9 was introduced, it would completely disrupt this system and potentially cause
some major issues. Then again, Microsoft isn’t exactly the most consistent when it comes
to naming stuff. This video was part of a collaboration with
Alltime10s. They made a video about Google over on their channel and if you want to you
can click the annotation to check it out.

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