Updated Nov. 10, 2023 at 12:25p.m.
On this day, Microsoft founder Bill Gates (then just 28 years old!) unveiled the original Windows operating system, a piece of software whose name and window-pane logo have become synonymous with modern computing.
How did Windows come to be?
In the early 1980s, the competition was ripe in the blossoming computer market, and Bill Gates and his Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen wanted to take the throne by creating an operating system that would be applicable for all PC users.
Gates announced in 1983 that Windows would feature drop-down menus, have mouse support, the ability to run several applications at once, and a host of other attractive features. It would be updated countless times over the years, eventually claiming some 1 billion users worldwide.
Was Windows always successful?
Regardless of the company’s early struggles, Windows became a major success. At the time of the Windows release, Bill Gates predicted that 90% of all IBM computers would be running the software. This was not the case at first, but today 75% of computers run on Windows as the software continues to evolve to meet modern demands.
How different is Windows today?
Similarly to today’s desktop and mobile operating systems, Windows 1.0 offered dropdown menus, tiled windows, mouse support, device-independent graphics, and the ability to run multiple applications at the same time. As of 2021, Microsoft is on version 11 of its now-famous system, with much more bells and whistles to offer its users.