Thursday, January 27, 2011

The History of Computing IV - Microsoft Windows

Those earning microsoft certifications may be interested to know more about the history of the company. When IBM was readying its PC for launch, they needed an operating system, which is th core program that allows a computer to function. This is the program that starts to run when you turn on a computer, before you touch the keyboard or the mouse. Microsoft purchased an operating system from another company and adapted it for use on the IBM PC, calling its software MS-DOS, for Microsoft Disk Operating System.

In 1985, Microsoft’s initial fortunes were made with MS-DOS, but once Microsoft chairman Bill Gates saw the Apple Macintosh, he knew the days of MS-DOS were numbered. Microsoft developed its own GUI, a program that would run on top of MS-DOS, and called it “Windows.”

Few people remember the original Windows today, or its sequel, Windows 2.0. They were crude interfaces by today’s standards. They are most famous for starting a long legal battle with Apple, which claimed that the “look and feel” of Windows legally infringed on the designs of Apple computers. Microsoft, in turn, claimed that Apple had stolen the important ideas from Xerox anyway. Microsoft eventually won.

In 1990, Windows 3.0 was released, the first version that was truly popular with users and developers. In 1995, Windows 95 was released, which, unlike the previous versions, was an entire operating system and interface in one, and did not require that MS-DOS be installed beforehand on the system. Soon Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows XP were developed. These products dominate the industry, and the vast majority of computers run some form of Windows.

As Microsoft became ubiquitous in the computing world, a backlash developed. Critics claimed the company’s software presence on almost every computer in the world gave them an unfair competitive advantage. The company became entangled in antitrust lawsuits from rival companies and governments around the globe.

Source of Information : Broadway-Computer Science Made Simple 2010
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