History of Microsoft
My research paper is going to be on whether or not Microsoft should be broken up by the Justice Department. In order to understand what is going on in the trial, you need to know the history of Microsoft. Without knowing the history of Microsoft, there would be no way of forming an accurate opinion of whether Microsoft should be broken up or not.
Microsoft first came into existence in 1975 and was founded by William H. Gates III(Bill Gates) and Paul Allen. The first product that they produced was the first version of the BASIC programming language for the Altair, which was the first personal computer. Microsoft then licensed BASIC to other companies, such as Apple Computer, Commodore, and Tandy Corporation. In 1977, Microsoft released its second language product, Microsoft FORTRAN.
Microsoft got its biggest break in 1980, when IBM chose Microsoft to write the operating system for the IBM PC personal computer. This was historically the biggest turning point for Microsoft. When the deal was made, Microsoft didn’t yet have an operating system to sell to IBM. Microsoft then purchased an operating system from a Seattle programmer and renamed it MS-DOS(Microsoft Disk Operating System.) During the meeting with IBM, Bill Gates was very crafty and convinced IBM to let Microsoft license MS-DOS to other computer manufacturers. That is why there are many clones of the IBM PC today. That move made MS-DOS the standard operating system for personal computers and skyrocketed Microsoft’s growth.
In 1984, Microsoft became on of the first established software companies to develop software for the Apple Macintosh. By that time Microsoft had an office suite of applications that included Word, Excel, and Works. That move gave Microsoft experience in developing applications for GUI’s(Graphical User Interface.) In 1985, Microsoft used that knowledge and release the first version of Windows. Windows was a shell of DOS, which means that it ran over DOS and extended the features of DOS, and employed a graphical user interface. Windows 2.0 was released in 1987. Windows 2.0 had improved performance and offered a new visual appearance. In 1990, Microsoft released Windows 3.0, which was followed by Windows 3.1 and 3.11. The Windows 3.x line rapidly became the most widely used operating systems. Also in 1990, Microsoft became the first personal-computer software company to record $1 billion in annual sales.
Microsoft was soon accused of monopolistic business practices. In 1990 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began investigating Microsoft for alleged anticompetitive practices. That case was dropped. In 1991 Microsoft and IBM went separate ways. IBM chose to pursue the OS/2 operating system, which until then had been a joint venture with Microsoft. Microsoft chose to stick with Windows. That was a very bad move for IBM because OS/2 failed.
In 1993 Microsoft and the Justice Department reached an agreement that called for Microsoft to change the way its operating system software was sold and licensed to computer manufacturers. Windows 95 was later released in 1995 and was a huge success.
More recently, Microsoft has been expanding into the media, entertainment, and communications industries. In 1996 Microsoft introduced Windows CE, a portable operating system designed for handheld personal computers. In late 1997 the Justice Department accused Microsoft of violating its 1994 agreement by requiring computer manufacturers that installed Windows 95 to also include Internet Explorer. In response, Microsoft argued that it should have the right to enhance the functionality of Windows by integrating Internet-related features into the operating system. Also in 1997, Sun Microsystems sued Microsoft, alleging that it had breached a contract for use of Sun’s Java programming language by introducing Windows-only enhancements. In November 1998 a federal judge ruled against Microsoft, which Microsoft later appealed. Microsoft eventually settled its antitrust case in early 1998 by agreeing to allow personal computer manufacturers to offer a version of Windows 95 that did not include access to Internet Explorer. In May 1998 the Justice Department and 20 states filed broad antitrust suits charging Microsoft with engaging in anticompetitive conduct. The antitrust trial began in October 1998.
The history of Microsoft is very important to know. Without knowing the history of Microsoft, there would be no way of producing an accurate opinion of the question of whether Microsoft should be broken up or not. We started in the early days of Microsoft and ended just before the antitrust trial began.
Encarta Encyclopedia 2000 Online www.encarta.msn.com “Microsoft Corporation”