Bill Gates and Paul Allen collaborated to found Microsoft (initially called Micro-Soft) in 1975. In the beginning they adapted BASIC, a popular programming language for use on microcomputers. It proved to be a success and they continued to develop programming language software for various systems.
In 1980, the duo was approached by International Business Machine (IBM) with a proposal that Microsoft write the BASIC interpreter for IBM’s upcoming personal computer, the IBM PC. Microsoft created the PC DOS operating system which they delivered to IBM in exchange for a one-time fee of $50,000.
Soon Microsoft’s operating systems became very popular and the company introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985, as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS. Over the following years Windows came to dominate the world’s personal computer market acquiring over 90% market share. The company saw phenomenal financial success, and being the company’s largest individual shareholder, Bill Gates amassed a great fortune.
Microsoft introduced Microsoft Office in 1989. The package integrated several applications like Microsoft Word and Excel into one system that was compatible with all Microsoft products. The success of MS Office gave Microsoft a virtual monopoly on operating systems for PCs.
In the mid 1990s when the use of the internet spread throughout the globe at an alarming speed, Gates focused Microsoft on the development of consumer and enterprise software solutions for the Internet. Windows CE operating system platform and the Microsoft Network were among the innovative solutions developed during this time.
In January 2000, Gates stepped down as Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft though he retained his position as chairman. He created the new position of Chief Software Architect for himself. Over the next few years he gradually transferred his duties to others at Microsoft and started spending more time in philanthropic works. He stepped down as Chairman of Microsoft in February 2014, and currently serves as technology advisor to support CEO Satya Nadella.
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