Timeline of Microsoft

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This is a timeline of Microsoft, a multinational computer technology corporation.

Big picture

Time period Key developments at Microsoft
1975–1985 Microsoft is founded and starts out creating its first software products, such as the MS-DOS operating system.
1985–1994 Microsoft moves to Redmond, IPOs, launches Microsoft Office and its first GUI. This would lead it to dominate much of the software market and put it in conflict with Apple Inc. Until 1995, Microsoft had failed to take advantage of the rising popularity of the Internet.
1995–2000 Microsoft releases Windows 95 and Windows 98, both which become extremely popular. It expands its presence on the Internet, and it develops an overwhelming share of the desktop operating system and Internet browser market. It also goes through an antitrust lawsuit.
2000–2006 Microsoft releases Windows ME (considered to be a botched release), which is then patched up by the popular Windows XP, which retains an overwhelming share of the OS market for a long time. Microsoft also releases the Xbox, which would eventually compete with the Playstation as one of the most popular gaming devices.
2007–2011 Microsoft releases Windows Vista (which is considered to be a botched release), and then Windows 7 to fix up the botch-up. While it still retains a significant share in the desktop operating system market, it does not anticipate the smartphone revolution. Microsoft also starts losing its share of the browser market to Firefox and Google Chrome, and MSN starts losing share of the search engine market to Google. Apple, Microsoft's old nemesis, would also introduce the iPhone, which would gradually eat into the overall Microsoft share of computing devices. Bill Gates continues to have diminishing involvement over the company.
2011–2014 The desktop operating system market is collapsing, as is the market share of Windows-based programming languages among developers.[1] Some question Microsoft's future under Steve Balmer. Windows 8 is released, but it is considered to be a botched release.
2014–present Microsoft appoints Satya Nadella as CEO, and its stock starts recovering again. Microsoft releases Windows 10, whose features help it compete with Google and Facebook to establish the strongest hold over people's digital lives.

Full timeline

Year Month and date Event type Details
1975 April 4 Company Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft.[2]
1978 November 1 International The company's first international office was founded on November 1, 1978, in Japan, entitled "ASCII Microsoft" (now called "Microsoft Japan").
1980 August Product Microsoft signs a contract with IBM to develop an operating system for IBM's first personal computer. This, in turn, was the beginning for both the Bundling of Microsoft Windows, and Wintelism, as IBM personal computers and Intel were also bundled with each other.
1981 July 27 Product Microsoft buys the rights for QDOS from Seattle Computer Products (without telling SCP that it had a lucrative contract with IBM). This would later become MS-DOS.[3]
1981 August 12 Company IBM announces the release of the IBM Personal Computer, which becomes the dominant personal computer. As DOS was the only operating system available on the PC when it was introduced in New York City, this paves way to the future domination by the MS-DOS operating system.[4][5]
1982 April International Microsoft formally launches its International Division and sets up subsidiaries in Europe and elsewhere, finding local agents to handle its business interests [5]
1983 January Products Compaq releases its first PC-compatible machine with IBM compatible clones, which hurt IBM but helped Microsoft (as it had to license DOS from Microsoft), but any application developed to run on the PC could still run on Compaq machines.[5]
1983 January 26 Competition Lotus Software releases Lotus 1-2-3, a spreadsheet program that becomes the IBM PC's first killer application, and which established the spreadsheet standard for the PC. By the late 1980s, it would eventually lose out to Microsoft Excel.[5]
1983 May 30 Products Microsoft announces Multi-Tool Word, which later becomes Microsoft Word.[5]
1984 January 24 Competition Steve Jobs introduces the original Macintosh, the first mass-market computer with a graphical user interface. Microsoft would later adopt many of its features into Windows.[6]
1985 September Products Microsoft releases Microsoft Excel, which would compete with, and later overtake, Lotus 1-2-3.[5]
1985 November 20 Products Microsoft launches the first version of its Windows operating system, Windows 1.0, which runs on top of MS-DOS and had a primitive GUI.[7][8]
1986 February Company Microsoft moves its headquarters to a suburban campus in Redmond, Washington.[7]
1986 March 13 Company Microsoft goes public with an IPO, raising $61 million at $21 a share.[7]
1987 April 2 Products Microsoft announces OS/2.[6]
1988 March Competition, Legal Apple sues Microsoft, contending that Microsoft's Windows 2.03 program violated Apple's copyrights on the Macintosh displays.[9]
1990 May 22 Products Microsoft launches Windows 3.0.[6] It gives the user virtual memory, improved graphics, and the ability to multitask.
1990 November 19 Products Microsoft releases Microsoft Office, which bundles together Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint for the first time.[10]
1991 September Company Microsoft creates Microsoft Research. It declares that it would support research without regard to product cycles.[11][12]
1993 March 22 Products Microsoft releases Microsoft Encarta, the first digital multimedia encyclopedia.[13]
1995 August 24 Products Microsoft releases Windows 95, which features a new interface with a novel start button.[7] Microsoft also debutted The Microsoft Network, a search engine and web portal for a wide variety of products and services.[14]
1995 December 15 Products Microsoft announces partnership with NBC to create a new 24-hour cable news television station, MSNBC.[15]
1996 October 22 Company Microsoft launches Expedia, an online travel company, as its first Internet property.[16]
1996 May Products Microsoft launches the Internet Gaming Zone, which would later become the MSN Gaming Zone.[17]
1997 August 6 Competition, Partnerships Apple Inc announces that it will enter in a partnership with Microsoft. Microsoft releases Microsoft Office for Macintosh, ships Internet Explorer as the default browser for the Macintosh, and invests $150 million in Apple.[18]
1998 June 25 Products Microsoft releases Windows 98.[13] It includes support for USB devices, back and forward navigation buttons, the address bar in Windows Explorer, and the Windows Driver Model.
1998 International Microsoft launches its Indian headquarters, which becomes its second-largest after its US headquarters.[19]
1998 May 18 Legal United States v. Microsoft Corp., an Antitrust trial, begins against Microsoft, with the US Department of Justice suing Microsoft for illegally thwarting competition in order to protect and extend its software (for reasons including bundling Internet Explorer with Microsoft Windows and requiring personal computer manufacturers to agree to adopt a uniform "boot-up" or "first screen" sequence specified by Microsoft).[20]
1999 July 22 Products Microsoft releases MSN Messenger, an IM client.[21]
2000 January 13 Team Bill Gates hands over his CEO position to Steve Ballmer.[22]
2000 September 14 Product Microsoft releases Windows ME.[13] It has improved support for digital media.
2001 May Acquisitions Microsoft acquires Ensemble Studios.[23]
2001 October 25 Products Microsoft releases Windows XP.[13]
2001 November 15 Products Microsoft launches the first Xbox.[13]
2002 February 13 Products Microsoft launches the .NET initiative, which creates an entirely new API for Windows programming, and includes a new programming language C#.[13]
2002 November 1 Legal The Department of Justice reaches an agreement with Microsoft to settle the United States v. Microsoft Corp. case. The proposed settlement required Microsoft to share its application programming interfaces with third-party companies and appoint a panel of three people who will have full access to Microsoft's systems, records, and source code for five years in order to ensure compliance. [24]
2003 June 23 Products Microsoft announces Windows Mobile.[13]
2006 May 14 Company Microsoft launches adCenter, an online advertising service that provides pay per click advertising. Until then, all the ads displayed on the MSN search engine were supplied by Overture (and later Yahoo!).[25]
2007 January 30 Product Microsoft releases Windows Vista to the general public.[26] and was made available for purchase and download from Microsoft's website.[27]
2008 June Team Bill Gates retires as chief software architect and devotes more of his time to philanthropy.[7]
2008 September 2 Competition Google launches Google Chrome, a browser that would cut into the web browser operating share of Internet Explorer.[28]
2009 October 22 Products Microsoft launches Windows 7 to the general public.[29]
2009 May 28 Products Microsoft unveils Microsoft Bing, a search engine to replace MSN.[30]
2010 February Products Microsoft launches Microsoft Azure, its foray into cloud computing.[31]
2010 March Competition Google lifts censorship on issues sensitive to the Chinese government, and is blocked by China, allowing the way for domination by alternative search engines, including Baidu.[32]
2010 November Products Microsoft announces Windows Phone, a family of mobile operating systems as the replacement successor to Windows Mobile.[33]
2011 May 10 Acquisitions Microsoft acquires Skype for $8.5 billion.[34]
2012 October 26 Products Microsoft launches Microsoft Surface, a series of Windows-based personal computing devices designed and manufactured by Microsoft under its hardware division.[35]
2013 September Acquisitions Microsoft acquires Nokia in an attempt to expand its presence in mobile.[36]
2013 December 13 Competition Valve Corporation announces SteamOS, an operating system to compete with Windows.[37]
2014 February 4 Team Satya Nadella succeeded Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft.[38]
2014 April Products Microsoft announces Cortana (software), an intelligent personal assistant.[39]
2014 September Company Microsoft reassigns half of its staff in Microsoft Research to a new group called MSR NeXT, to focus on products with greater impact to the company rather than pure research.[40]
2014 September Products The Windows Insider program is announced, which allows users to test Windows 10 and provide feedback to Microsoft developers.[41] As of 2015, the program had over 7 million users.[42]
2015 January 21 Products HoloLens, the world's first holographic headset is announced and Microsoft announces that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for customers with Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone 8.1 (excluding enterprise).[43][44]
2015 July 29 Products Microsoft releases Windows 10 - what it describes as its "last operating system" - and which acts as an "universal" application architecture across multiple Microsoft product families.[45]
2015 September 23 International Microsoft announces partnership with Baidu, making Baidu the default homepage for users of its Microsoft Edge browser in China, and which introduces Baidu search applications to Windows 10.[46]
2015 October 26 Retail The first flagship Microsoft Store opens in New York City[47]
2015 November 19 Company Microsoft, alongside ARM Holdings, Dell, Intel, Cisco Systems, and Princeton University, founded the OpenFog Consortium, to promote interests and development in fog computing.[48]
2016 February 3 Acquisitions Microsoft announced to buy SwiftKey, a startup based out of London that makes keyboard apps for Android and iOS devices.[49]
2016 February 24 Acquisitions Microsoft announces to buy Xamarin, a company that allows developers to build fully native apps across several platforms from a single shared code base.[50]
2016 June 13 Acquisitions Microsoft announces the acquisition of LinkedIn at $26.2 billion ($60 per user).[51][52][53]
2016 October 26 Products The Surface Studio and Surface Dial are announced[54]
2016 November 2 Products Microsoft Teams, a cloud-based team collaboration tool, is launched as part of Office 365[55]

References

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