Microsoft Windows Comes Of Age - Happy 21st Birthday!
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
12. Between 1986 and 1996 Microsoft’s stock soared hundredfold and it was estimated that Microsoft had created 10,000 millionaires by 2000.
13. Bill Gates earns $250 every second, $20m a day and $7.8BN a year.
14. If Bill drops a thousand dollar bill, it’s not worth his while to pick it up, as he’ll make the same amount in the time it takes him to pick it up.
15. If Bill Gates was a country, he would be the 37th richest country in the world.
16. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the wealthiest organisation for charitable grants with assets of approx $65Bn.
17. Erik Noyes from Charles Schwab came up with the phrase Blue Screen of Death “BSoD” in 1991.
18. Bill Gates scored 1590 on his SAT. Paul Allen, scored a perfect 1600.
19. The Windows operating system has 50 million lines of code (a line averages 60 characters) and grows 20% with every release. It’s put together by 7,200 people, comes in 34 languages and has to support 190,000 devices–different models of digital cameras, printers, handhelds and so on.
20. An estimated 250-300K applications have been developed for Windows.
21. Over 5 million testers signed up for Vista’s release candidates (I’m wagering the first patch will be released within 3 weeks!)
Best of luck Window, Microsoft and Gates for rest of the future. Keep going.
From the sources............