Jump to content
Sign Up To Remove Ads!


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies. Want this topic removed from the archive?


5 Things You Didn't Know About Microsoft

Recommended Posts

 titanic1    244


Microsoft is the world's leading producer of computer software. Microsoft was incorporated in 1981, but the company's roots go back at least as far as 1975, when the first commercially available personal computer appeared on the cover of Popular Electronics. The Altair 8800, as it was called, was a rudimentary system, but it found a market for home-based computers that in turn created a new demand: software to use with them. Bill Gates and his friend Paul Allen immediately saw the potential. Gates contacted the company that made the Altair, MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems), and offered to write a program for the new computer. Gates and Allen created an interpreter for BASIC, then a mainframe programming language, for use with the Altair. MITS hired both Gates and Allen in 1975, but by 1976 they had left to devote more time to their own fledgling company, Microsoft (from microcomputer and software).



When Windows 95 was being developed, executives commissioned music legend Brian Eno to develop a "piece of music" to play when the operating system started up. This music would become known as "The Windows Sound." Eno is probably most renowned* for his ambient music -- long tracks with deep sound beds and drifting melodies. But this track had to be a little shorter. Eno related the story:

The thing from the agency said, "We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah-blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional," this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said "and it must be 3.25 seconds long."

And, of course, Eno solved the problem, creating a supremely iconic sound. But when you take his micro-music and stretch it out to two and a half minutes, it becomes suspiciously like the music we hear on his ambient albums -- slow, ethereal, moody, beautiful in a very different way. So listen to it (this is a Windows 95 ad that an enterprising YouTuber slowed way down):


You may have heard jokes about some old failed Microsoft product called "Bob" or seen that big yellow smily face wearing nerdy glasses, and wondered "what the heck was that all about?".

Well, in early 1995 Microsoft released a software program called "Bob" designed to replace the desktop of Windows 3.1 and 95 with an interface designed mainly for novice users.

Microsoft held a big advertising campaign and loaded up stores with copies of Bob expecting huge sales. It totally flopped.


A few possible reasons that Bob flopped:

Bob required a minimum of a 486 with 8 megs of ram, 30 megs of free disk space, and 256 color VGA. Many computers of the day did not meet these minimum requirements.
It was too "cute" for the average PC users of the day.
Most people at the time who wanted ease of use would just get a Macintosh.
Bob was not useful enough to justify its initial sale price of almost $100.
Windows 95, which was released later that year, had the new Windows Explorer user interface which wiped the floor with Bob.
And so Microsoft Bob disappeared in to obscurity.


1997: Microsoft rescues one-time and future nemesis Apple with a $150 million investment that breathes new life into a struggling Silicon Alley icon.

In a remarkable feat of negotiating legerdemain, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs got needed cash — in return for non-voting shares — and an assurance that Microsoft would support Office for the Mac for five years. Apple agreed to drop a long-running lawsuit in which they alleged Microsoft copied the look and feel of the Mac OS for Windows and to make Internet Explorer the default browser on its computers — but not the only choice.


Microsoft got to look like a noble competitor, for a change, for what amounted to a rounding error on their annual revenues. Timing mattered: The company was in the midst of an image-tarnishing antitrust fight over its heavy-handed promotion of IE during the height of the browser wars with Netscape.

The Apple faithful had already been conditioned to expect the unexpected when Jobs was in the house. But this surprise announcement, at Macworld in Boston, was pure Jobs theater. And it came with an oddly juxtaposed (satellite!) video feed of then-Microsoft CEO Bill Gates piped into the auditorium, dwarfing Jobs on stage.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
 YourMom2    1,354

I believe that .gov uses Microsoft products. Did I mention that we're f***ed? Way to go, Bill !!!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites