Microsoft, one of the top companies in the world, or we can say dream company! The first thing that comes in our mind after hearing the word Microsoft is Bill gates and/or Windows OS.
Except that, what do we know about the company, not much right?! Like history behind the default desktop picture of windows XP or why windows 9 was not released and why directly windows 10? Keep reading and you will know much more about Microsoft. Enjoy!
Amazing Microsoft Facts
Here we go!
In 1969, two teenage boys, Bill Gates and Paul Allen met for the first time. They both were interested in programming and the emerging industry of computers. A few years later, in 1975, they established the company, “Micro-Soft”. The name is a portmanteau of the word microcomputer and software. In 1980, the company entered the industry of operating systems with its own version of Unix called Xenix.
But their first breakthrough came with the release of MS-DOS in 1981. After a few years of competition against IBM’s PC-DOS, Microsoft eventually came out as the leading provider. At this point, most operating systems were based on a command-line interface. It’s a black screen where you could execute some commands and in return would receive some nice text (as output). Absolutely fantastic for its time no doubt about that, but not very interesting to the average person.
So Microsoft released a graphical extension to MS-DOS in 1985. Bill Gates almost named it “Interface Manager” but the head of marketing somehow convinced him of naming it “Windows” instead. At first, Windows was not that popular and the rival company, Apple took the lead. But this would soon change. Windows 3.0 was the first widely successful version of Windows and also a strong competitor to Apple’s Mac OS.
In 1990, Microsoft introduced Microsoft Office with software like Word and Excel. Windows 95 became a huge success for the company and introduced some interesting features like the start menu and Internet Explorer (Internet Explorer was cool at that time! Interesting, isn’t it?!). From here on out, Windows would continue to dominate the market, and as such Microsoft was often accused of monopolization. At the start of the new millennium, Microsoft introduced the Xbox to compete against Sony and Nintendo. Even while the Xbox couldn’t keep up with the Playstation 2, it was nonetheless a success selling millions of units.
To coincide with the release of Windows 8, Microsoft has undergone a major rebranding. Microsoft made a major change to the logo of the company. For the very first time, Microsoft included a version of the famous Windows logo in the official Microsoft logo. But these four tiles are more than just an icon for Windows. As you can see in the above image, each tile is 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 in 2001, Microsoft wanted a catchy slogan for windows XP. They eventually decided to use “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. So, Microsoft decided to change the slogan to “Yes You Can”, for which Microsoft had to spend over $200 Million!
Around the mid to late 1990s, Internet Explorer became the standard browser across the globe as it came bundled with the operating system. And by 2002, it reached the peak of a staggering 95% market share. Then something happened. New browsers like Opera and Firefox started eating away at Microsoft’s browser monopoly. This got Microsoft worried so to counteract this decline, they employed some 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 hopefully, the Opera users would switch over to Internet Explorer instead. While Microsoft has never paid attention to the accusations, Opera Software retaliated by releasing a so-called “bork” edition of Opera 7. This special version would only display msn(dot)com using the incomprehensible language, made famous by the Swedish Chef from “The Muppet Show”.
Every website and service with users and profile pictures have a default avatar. One version of Microsoft’s email client, namely Outlook 2010, uses an icon as shown in the below image. It’s interesting because this avatar is actually a silhouette of Bill Gates from 1977 when he was arrested for speeding and driving without a license (can you even imagine that?!).
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 (Check the first character of every word in the first name…odd, right?!).
The default wallpaper (namely, “bliss”) used for Windows XP is, or at least was, one of the most recognizable pictures in the world. The photograph, named Bliss, was taken by photographer Charles O’Rear, former National Geographic, and was captured in Sonoma County in California in 1996.
This photo is the raw unaltered original. After he’d taken the photo, he put it up for sale on the stock image site called Corbis. And the twist is, Bill Gates owns Corbis! So around 2000, Microsoft contacted O’Rear and as it wanted to buy all the rights to the image. And while the exact amount has never been disclosed, it has been said to be one of the largest payments ever made for a single photograph. If you were to visit the site today, however, you would most likely not recognize the place because the green hill is now covered with grapevines.
Before Microsoft launched their new search engine in 2009, they were in search of a short and memorable name. Eventually, they decided to use Bang. But they had to reconsider their decision rather quickly as it didn’t work as well when used as a verb. As in “Let me just bang that real quick.”, which is quite odd! So, 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 well known to take copyright and trademark infringement quite seriously. Back in 2004, a teenager named Mike Rowe registered the domain MikeRoweSoft(dot)com. So while pronouncing out loud, it almost sounds like Microsoft. Only based on this, Microsoft decided to take legal action against Mike Rowe, and the whole thing received worldwide media attention.
The website itself had nothing to do with Microsoft or any of its products as he used it to run his own part-time web design business. But in the end, there was an agreement 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!
Initially, when Windows made its debut, things were not that complex. The first-ever release of windows 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 operating system matched each other. But then, they decided to use names like Windows 95, 98, NT, ME, 2000, XP, and Vista. So, things got a bit more confusing. Windows Vista is actually eversion 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 with the name “Windows 9” with a version number of 6.4. But instead, they announced this… Windows 10? Why skip the nine? Microsoft’s official explanation is that this new release of Windows will, from here on out, be Windows. In other words, each new update will only have a new version number and instead of a new name.
One more possibility though is that the name Windows 9 could cause issues for some legacy applications. Thousands of programs could be using code like this (as shown in the below image) to check what version of Windows it’s running on. Basically, it is checking if the name contains a 9 and if it does, that means it’s either Windows 95 or Windows 98. But if they had introduced Windows 9, it would completely disrupt this system and potentially cause some major issues.
That’s all. Hope you enjoyed reading the article!
Also, did you know that the name “Google” is a mistake? Check here how/why? : Name “Google” is a mistake! Here are 10 amazing Google facts!
Don’t forget to share this facts with your family and friends! And yes, I would like to know which fact did you like the most. Let me know in the comment section.