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History of Microsoft

After reading the January 1, 1975 issue of Popular Electronics that demonstrated the Altair 8800, Bill Gates called the creators of the new microcomputer, MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems), offering to demonstrate an implementation of the BASIC programming language for the system.Gates had neither an interpreter nor an Altair system, yet in the eight weeks before the demo he and Allen developed the interpreter. The interpreter worked at the demo and MITS agreed to distribute Altair BASIC. Gates left Harvard University, moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where MITS was located and founded Microsoft there. The name Microsoft, without the hyphen, was first used in a letter from Gates to Allen on November 29, 1975, and on November 26, 1976 the name became a registered trademark. The company’s first international office was founded on November 1, 1978, in Japan, entitled “ASCII Microsoft” (now called “Microsoft Japan”). On January 1, 1979, the company moved from Albuquerque to a new home in Bellevue, Washington. [22] Steve Ballmer joined the company on June 11, 1980, and would later succeed Bill Gates as CEO. The company restructured on June 25, 1981, to become an incorporated business in its home state of Washington (with a further change of its name to “Microsoft, Inc.”). As part of the restructuring, Bill Gates became president of the company and Chairman of the Board, and Paul Allen became Executive Vice President.

The first operating system the company publicly released was a variant of Unix in 1980. Acquired from AT&T; through a distribution license, Microsoft dubbed it Xenix, and hired Santa Cruz Operation in order to port/adapt the operating system to several platforms.This Unix variant would become home to the first version of Microsoft’s word processor, Microsoft Word. Originally titled “Multi-Tool Word”, Microsoft Word became notable for its concept of “What You See Is What You Get”, or WYSIWYG. Word was also the first application with such features as the ability to display bold text. It was first released in the spring of 1983, and free demonstration copies of the application were bundled with the November 1983 issue of PC World, making it the first program to be distributed on-disk with a magazine. However, Xenix was never sold to end users directly although it was licensed to many software OEMs for resale. By the mid-1980s Microsoft had gotten out of the Unix business entirely.

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