Timeline of Microsoft
This is a timeline of Microsoft, a multinational computer technology corporation.
|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. 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.|
|Year||Month and date||Event type||Details|
|1975||April 4||Company||Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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 |
|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.|
|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.|
|1983||May 30||Products||Microsoft announces Multi-Tool Word, which later becomes Microsoft Word.|
|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.|
|1985||September||Products||Microsoft releases Microsoft Excel, which would compete with, and later overtake, Lotus 1-2-3.|
|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.|
|1986||February||Company||Microsoft moves its headquarters to a suburban campus in Redmond, Washington.|
|1986||March 13||Company||Microsoft goes public with an IPO, raising $61 million at $21 a share.|
|1987||April 2||Products||Microsoft announces OS/2.|
|1988||March||Competition, Legal||Apple sues Microsoft, contending that Microsoft's Windows 2.03 program violated Apple's copyrights on the Macintosh displays.|
|1990||May 22||Products||Microsoft launches Windows 3.0. 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.|
|1991||September||Company||Microsoft creates Microsoft Research. It declares that it would support research without regard to product cycles.|
|1993||March 22||Products||Microsoft releases Microsoft Encarta, the first digital multimedia encyclopedia.|
|1995||August 24||Products||Microsoft releases Windows 95, which features a new interface with a novel start button. Microsoft also debutted The Microsoft Network, a search engine and web portal for a wide variety of products and services.|
|1995||December 15||Products||Microsoft announces partnership with NBC to create a new 24-hour cable news television station, MSNBC.|
|1996||October 22||Company||Microsoft launches Expedia, an online travel company, as its first Internet property.|
|1996||May||Products||Microsoft launches the Internet Gaming Zone, which would later become the MSN Gaming Zone.|
|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.|
|1998||June 25||Products||Microsoft releases Windows 98. 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.|
|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).|
|1999||July 22||Products||Microsoft releases MSN Messenger, an IM client.|
|2000||January 13||Team||Bill Gates hands over his CEO position to Steve Ballmer.|
|2000||September 14||Product||Microsoft releases Windows ME. It has improved support for digital media.|
|2001||May||Acquisitions||Microsoft acquires Ensemble Studios.|
|2001||October 25||Products||Microsoft releases Windows XP.|
|2001||November 15||Products||Microsoft launches the first Xbox.|
|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#.|
|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. |
|2003||June 23||Products||Microsoft announces Windows Mobile.|
|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!).|
|2007||January 30||Product||Microsoft releases Windows Vista to the general public. and was made available for purchase and download from Microsoft's website.|
|2008||June||Team||Bill Gates retires as chief software architect and devotes more of his time to philanthropy.|
|2008||September 2||Competition||Google launches Google Chrome, a browser that would cut into the web browser operating share of Internet Explorer.|
|2009||October 22||Products||Microsoft launches Windows 7 to the general public.|
|2009||May 28||Products||Microsoft unveils Microsoft Bing, a search engine to replace MSN.|
|2010||February||Products||Microsoft launches Microsoft Azure, its foray into cloud computing.|
|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.|
|2010||November||Products||Microsoft announces Windows Phone, a family of mobile operating systems as the replacement successor to Windows Mobile.|
|2011||May 10||Acquisitions||Microsoft acquires Skype for $8.5 billion.|
|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.|
|2013||September||Acquisitions||Microsoft acquires Nokia in an attempt to expand its presence in mobile.|
|2013||December 13||Competition||Valve Corporation announces SteamOS, an operating system to compete with Windows.|
|2014||February 4||Team||Satya Nadella succeeded Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft.|
|2014||April||Products||Microsoft announces Cortana (software), an intelligent personal assistant.|
|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.|
|2014||September||Products||The Windows Insider program is announced, which allows users to test Windows 10 and provide feedback to Microsoft developers. As of 2015, the program had over 7 million users.|
|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).|
|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.|
|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.|
|2015||October 26||Retail||The first flagship Microsoft Store opens in New York City|
|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.|
|2016||February 3||Acquisitions||Microsoft announced to buy SwiftKey, a startup based out of London that makes keyboard apps for Android and iOS devices.|
|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.|
|2016||June 13||Acquisitions||Microsoft announces the acquisition of LinkedIn at $26.2 billion ($60 per user).|
|2016||October 26||Products||The Surface Studio and Surface Dial are announced|
|2016||November 2||Products||Microsoft Teams, a cloud-based team collaboration tool, is launched as part of Office 365|
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