The history of Microsoft Windows

Making IT work… The history of Microsoft Windows

Williams Gates III, known to us as Bill Gates, was commissioned by IBM in 1980 to write an Operating System.  This was for the new IBM Personal Computer, IBM-PC, today just known as the PC.  Bill Gates and his small team worked on Microsoft Disk Operating System MS-DOS.  Bill managed to keep the rights to MS-DOS, and IBM sold this with their PCs in 1981, with both companies making a significant amount of money to be able to keep updating and updating windows for it to become what it is today.

What is an Operating System (OS)?

An OS is the foundation software of a computer, scheduling tasks to the Central Processing Unit (CPU), allocating data to storage such as Random Access Memory (RAM) and the hard disk drive (HDD).


It was four years later that Bill Gates added the User Interface (UI) to run on top of MS-DOS, giving users a UI between applications, and presenting their data and information in a more intuitive and user-friendly way.  Previously to this, everything was command line driven and presentation was in fixed-size fonts in rows and columns in a small ‘window’.  It was this term window that was to revolutionise computing today.


During the 1980’s the computer revolution was fast-paced.  In the UK Apricot Computers a small company making 50 computers per day soon had orders of 600 per day and expanded rapidly.

Woolworths announced they were going to stock the Acorn Electron computer, so leading edge computing was effectively brought into the high street.

Steve Jobs was innovating constantly within the Apple business, with new products and stiff competition against them from the PC.  These were cut-throat times, with computer manufacturers, distributors and retailers all vying for the latest products that would sell like hotcakes, with large margins to make them lots of profit.

It was Bill Gates and the late and great Steve Jobs that were involved in the computer revolution from the early 80’s to around 2008 when Bill Gates stood down, and sadly in 2011 when Steve Jobs passed away.  Amazing people who helped create an amazing world.