1975 January 1, 1975 The MITS Altair 8800 appears on the cover of Popular Electronics. The article inspires Paul Allen and Bill Gates to develop a BASIC language for the Altair. February 1, 1975 Bill Gates and Paul Allen complete Altair BASIC and sell it to Microsoft’s first customer, MITS of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is the first computer language program for a personal computer. March 1, 1975 Paul Allen joins MITS as director of software. July 1, 1975 Bill Gates' and Paul Allen's BASIC officially ships as version 2.0 in both 4K and 8K editions. July 29, 1975 In a letter to Paul Allen, Bill Gates uses the name "Micro-soft" to refer to their partnership. This is the earliest known written reference. December 31, 1975 The 1975 year-end sales total equals 16,005 dollars, as detailed on Form 1065 U.S. Partnership Return of Income.
1976 April, 1976 Marc McDonald becomes Microsoft’s first official employee. (Other people did work on Microsoft products before that, but on a contract basis) November 1, 1976 Paul Allen resigns from MITS to join Microsoft full time. November 26, 1976 The trade name, Microsoft, is registered with the Office of the Secretary of the State of New Mexico. September 1, 1976 Microsoft leases official office space in the Two Park Central Tower Building at 300 San Mateo Blvd, N.E., Suite 819, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 1976 Headcount/Revenue The 1976 Calendar Year employee headcount totals six people. Revenues are $22,496
1977 February 3, 1977 An official partnership agreement between Paul Allen and Bill Gates is executed. July 1, 1977 FORTRAN-80, Microsoft’s second language product, is available at the prices of $500 for an individual license. OEM licenses are available. September 13, 1977 Microsoft receives new computers from Commodore, Radio Shack and Texas Instruments. September 26, 1977 The Albuquerque facilities are expanded by three new offices in the same building. 1977 Revenue/Headcount The 1977 Calendar Year revenue totals $381,715, headcount is 9.
1978 April 11, 1978 Microsoft COBOL-80, which conforms to the 1974 ANSI standards for 8080, Z80, and 8085 microprocessor systems, is announced. November 1, 1978 Microsoft establishes its first international sales office in Japan, ASCII Microsoft. November 6, 1978 Microsoft announces the availability of Microsoft EDIT-80, a random access, line oriented text editor for 8080 and Z-80 systems. EDIT-80 is the first microcomputer editor with random line access to floppy disk files. December 31, 1978 Microsoft's year-end sales exceed $1 million at $1,355,655. There are 13 employees. The Albuquerque office's Coca Cola bill for Calendar Year 1978 totals $566.50.
1979 April 4, 1979 The 8080 version of Microsoft® Basic is the first microprocessor software product to win the ICP Million Dollar Award. August 1, 1979 Microsoft announces the availability of Microsoft BASIC Compiler for 8080 and Z-80 CP/M systems. December 1, 1979 Level III BASIC, the most powerful BASIC written for the TRS-80, has been introduced by Microsoft Consumer Products, the new consumer software development and marketing division ofMicrosoft 1978 Revenue/Headcount The 1979 year-end sales total $2,390,145. There are 28 employees.
1980 January 1, 1980 Microsoft Consumer Products announces its first consumer-oriented application software, Typing Tutor. June 11, 1980 Steve Ballmer joins Microsoft with responsibility for Operations, including personnel, finance, and legal areas of the business. August 25, 1980 Microsoft announces XENIX OS, a portable, UNIX-based operating system for 16-bit microprocessors. 1980 Revenue/Headcount The 1980 year-end sales total $8,000,000. The 1980 Calendar Year employee headcount totals 40 people
1981 June 25, 1981 Microsoft reorganizes into a privately held corporation with Bill Gates as president and chairman of the board and Paul Allen as executive vice president. Microsoft becomes Microsoft, Inc., an incorporated business in the state of Washington. August 12, 1981 IBM introduces its Personal Computer (PC), MS-DOS version 1.0, plus BASIC, COBOL, Pascal, and other Microsoft products. This is Microsoft’s entry into the operating systems business. Included in the IBM-compatible list of software is a game newly adapted to the PC, Microsoft Adventure. 1981 Revenue/Headcount The 1981 year-end sales total $17,331,000. The 1980 Calendar Year employee headcount totals 129 people.
1982 June 25, 1982 James C. Towne is appointed President and Chief Operating Officer of Microsoft. In July he takes over all responsibilities from Bill Gates, who will assume the title of Executive Vice President, responsible for all development activities. Gates remains Chairman of the Board. July 6, 1982 Microsoft becomes a registered trademark in the U.S. ( No. 1,200,236 in Int.Cls 9 and 42 (computer programs and computer programming services). July 16, 1982 The Microsoft Local Area Network (MILAN) is now fully functional, linking all of Microsoft's in-house development computers, including a DEC 2060, two PDP-11/70s, a VAX 11/250, and many MC68000 machines running XENIX. This system will simplify e-mail delivery on-site. (Bill Gates becomes billg) October 1, 1982 Paul Allen is diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease, which is localized and in a very treatable form. He is on a limited work schedule while undergoing treatments. Although his treatment is successful, he will resign from Microsoft in 1983. 1982 Revenue/Headcount The 1982 year-end sales total $24,486,000. The 1982 Calendar Year employee headcount totals 220 people
1983 February 18, 1983 Paul Allen resigns as Microsoft's executive vice president, but remains on the Board of Directors. March 9, 1983 Microsoft introduces MS-DOS 2.0. May 2, 1983 Microsoft introduces the Microsoft Mouse, a low-cost, handheld pointing device for use with the IBM PC as well as any other MS-DOS-based personal computer. September 29, 1983 Microsoft ships it’s full-featured word processing program, Word for MS-DOS 1.00 and provides a free demonstration copy to subscribers of The PC World Software Review. November 3, 1983 Microsoft Press, a trade-book publishing division specializing in computer books, is formed. Nahum Stiskin is named General Manager and Publisher. Microsoft Press expects to publish 30 to 35 books in its first year. November 10, 1983 Microsoft unveils Windows, an extension of the MS-DOS operating system that provides a graphical operating environment. Windows features a window management capability that allows a user to view unrelated application programs simultaneously. Windows wouldn’t actually ship until 2 years later. December 1, 1983 The first international subsidiaries to connect to Microsoft e-mail are in Europe: Microsoft Ltd. in the U.K., Microsoft Sarl in France, and Microsoft G.m.b.H. in Germany
1984 January 24, 1984 Microsoft and Apple Computer announce the new Apple Macintosh computer and Microsoft's custom-designed productivity software for the new computer. Macintosh's interface, combined with Microsoft’s software: Multiplan, Chart, Word, File, and BASIC provides a powerful and functional environment for all users. March 4, 1984 Microsoft joins forces with Spectravideo and four Japanese firms to establish a hardware/software compatibility standard based on the popular Z80® 8-bit microcomputer. The standard, called MSX, was announced on June 15, 1983 and made available a new set of standard specifications so diverse software programs would be compatible with low-cost home computers from different manufacturers. MSX was developed primarily for the Japanese market as the first unified format in Japan for software or hardware. It was never adapted for sale in the U.S. March 29, 1984 Microsoft creates a new Hardware and Peripherals Division dedicated to developing and marketing hardware products that complement Microsoft's software product line. August 14, 1984 IBM chooses XENIX and MS-DOS for its new generation personal computer, the IBM PC AT. September 24, 1984 Francis J. Gaudette joins Microsoft as vice president of Finance and Administration.
1985 January 23, 1985 Microsoft announces the release of Microsoft MacEnhancer expansion system, a new hardware product designed to open up the Apple Macintosh computer to a wide range of IBM compatible peripherals. May 3, 1985 Microsoft Mouse Quarantined in Canada Rich MacIntosh, General Manager of Microsoft Canada, Inc., was recently called to the Canadian Department of Agriculture to retrieve his Microsoft "Mouse" after four weeks of quarantine. August 9, 1985 Microsoft announces that Wright Runstad & Company breaks ground today on a new Microsoft World Headquarters in Redmond scheduled for completion by mid-1986. The $25 million facility will be located in the southeast quadrant of Evergreen Place Office Park, in a heavily wooded, 29-acre campus setting. August 12, 1985 Microsoft celebrates its 10th anniversary with sales figures of $140 million for the fiscal year of 1985. August 22, 1985 Microsoft signs an agreement with IBM for joint development of operating systems and other systems software products. September 3, 1985 Microsoft selects the Republic of Ireland as the site of its first production facility outside the U.S. for software products to be sold in the European market. November 20, 1985 Microsoft ships the retail version of Windows, an operating system that extends the features of the MS-DOS .
1986 February 18, 1986 His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Great Britain visits the Microsoft Showroom at the Infomart in Dallas. He compliments Jerry Ruttenbur, Vice President of Retail, and Shelley Jones on the color and graphics of the Microsoft® Windows® demonstration given to him by Jan Josephs. February 26, 1986 Microsoft moves to its new Corporate Campus, buildings 1 through 4, in Redmond, Washington. March 13, 1986 Microsoft stock goes public at $21 per share, rising to $28 per share by the end of the first trading day. The initial public offering raises $61 million. July 9, 1986 Microsoft announces Microsoft MACH 10, an add-on board which makes Microsoft Windows run up to 2-1/2 times faster on an IBM PC, PC XT, or Portable PC. August 20, 1986 Microsoft begins shipping Excel, Word, File, Multiplan, and Chart for the Macintosh on 800K, double-sided disks. September 17, 1986 Microsoft announces the availability of extensions to MS-DOS that support the use of CD-ROM disk drives with personal computers. These extensions allow any computer that runs MS-DOS 3.1 or 3.2 and has a CD-ROM drive to read data from any CD-ROM disk formatted in the recently issued High Sierra CD-ROM file format. October 22, 1986 Aldus, Hewlett-Packard, and Microsoft form a desktop publishing alliance to market their products as a complete desktop publishing solution. July 3, 1986 IBM has recently announced the PC Convertible, which uses 3.5-inch disks.
1987 February 26, 1987 A total redesign of corporate materials is introduced. Spearheading the new corporate identity is a new logo, "Pacman Logo,". Says designer Scott Baker, "The former logo ( the 'Blibbet' ( was more in keeping with how we saw our company five years ago." The new logo, in Helvetica italic typeface, has a slash between the "o" and "s" to emphasize the "soft" part of the name and convey motion and speed. July 30, 1987 Microsoft acquires Forethought, the developer of PowerPoint, a leading desktop presentation application. August 31, 1987 Microsoft announces the “New Mouse”, 1.0, a plug-compatible mouse. The design of the mouse is nicknamed the “Dove Soap Bar”. September 8, 1987 Microsoft ships its first CD-ROM application, Microsoft Bookshelf, a collection of 10 of the most popular and useful reference works on a single CD-ROM disk. September 14, 1987 Microsoft unveils Works for DOS, a breakthrough productivity software package for Home/Small Business workers. October 6, 1987 Microsoft announces Excel for Windows offering unprecedented functionality, presentation capabilities, and customizability to spreadsheet users. It ships November 19. December 9, 1987 Windows 2.0 and Windows/386 ships to dealers and distributors.
<ul><li>January 13, 1988 </li></ul><ul><li>Microsoft and Ashton-Tate announce Microsoft SQL Server, a relational database server software product for Local Area Networks (LANs) based on a relational database management system licensed from Sybase. </li></ul><ul><li>June 14, 1988 </li></ul><ul><li>Microsoft hires Mike Maples, previously with IBM, as vice president of the Applications Software Division. </li></ul><ul><li>August 19, 1988 A new Out-Of-Office notification feature for XENIX e-mail is offered to Microsoft employees. Anyone who sends e-mail will receive an automatic message that the employee is out of the office, plus any instructions the employee may wish to include in the message. </li></ul><ul><li>October 31, 1988 </li></ul><ul><li>Microsoft and IBM release the jointly developed OS/2 1.1 with Presentation Manager. </li></ul><ul><li>December 6, 1988 A new Microsoft Product Support Center opens in Bellevue, Washington. </li></ul><ul><li>December 6, 1988 Microsoft to Package Software Specially for Education. Microsoft announces plans to release Academic Editions of Works, Word, Excel and PowerPoint for the Macintosh that will sell at a reduced rate through the Authorized Education Dealer Program. </li></ul>1988
1989 January 25, 1989 Microsoft unveils the promotional campaign for Excel for Windows, targeting users who are considering purchasing or upgrading to future releases of Lotus 1-2-3. May 3, 1989 Microsoft and Ashton-Tate announce the shipment of the Microsoft SQL Server 1.0. The product is the result of a joint development effort of Ashton-Tate, Microsoft, and Sybase. SQL Server is a powerful, relational database server for PC-based Local Area Networks (LANs). May 3, 1989 Steve Ballmer is promoted to Senior Vice President. June 5, 1989 Microsoft forms the Multimedia Division, dedicated to the development and marketing of multimedia systems software and consumer products. June 19, 1989 Office for the Macintosh is available. Macintosh applications include: Word 4.00, Excel 2.20, PowerPoint 2.01, and Mail 1.37. June 26, 1989 Microsoft Mouse sales surpass two million units, twice the number sold less than one year ago. August 31, 1989 A complete Chinese MS-DOS® version 3.21 will be provided to licensed OEMs and shipped in the future by representatives in Taiwan. As a service to users in Taiwan. December 27, 1989 Microsoft announces that Jon Shirley will retire as president and chief operating officer on June 30, 1990. Shirley, president since August of 1983, will continue to play a role in the management of the company as a member of the Board of Directors and as a consultant for strategic projects.
1990 March 18, 1990 East Germany holds its first democratic elections since 1932, and Excel for OS/2, installed on IBM Model 80s, keeps track of and charts the results in the Press Center, Volkskammer (Parliament), and the Palast der Republik, home of TV studios and the central election point. April 2, 1990 Microsoft appoints Michael R. Hallman as president and chief operating officer, to succeed upon Jon Shirley’s retirement. April 9, 1990 Russian MS-DOS 4.01 is the first Microsoft product localized for the Soviet market. September 19, 1990 IBM reaffirms its relationship with Microsoft and extends its licensing arrangements for the Microsoft® MS-DOS®, Microsoft Windows®, and OS/2® products. October 1, 1990 Office for Windows which includes: Excel, Word, and PowerPoint is available. July 24, 1990 Kicking off its 15th-anniversary celebration, Microsoft becomes the first personal computer software company to exceed 1 billion dollars in sales in a single year, with revenues of 1.18 billion dollars.
1991 March 11, 1991 Microsoft announces the BallPoint Mouse, designed especially for use with laptop computers. May 10, 1991 There's a new slogan for an aggressive anti-piracy campaign being launched this summer: "Work With The Original." May 20, 1991 Microsoft announces Visual BASIC for Windows at Windows World 1991 in Atlanta, Georgia June 11, 1991 Microsoft announces the immediate availability of Microsoft MS-DOS 5.0. June 14, 1991 Microsoft is connected to the nationwide TCP/IP-based Internet. November 1, 1991 The new Microsoft® Windows® logo, a colorful window with trailing rectangular tails in the shape of a fluttering flag, is announced at Fall/COMDEX '91. It is intended to be displayed on products that are compatible with versions 3.0 and 3.1 of Windows. There are three versions: Microsoft Windows, which is for internal use by employees only; Microsoft Windows Compatible, which is for use by authorized third-party companies; and Microsoft Windows Ready-to-Run, which is used by OEMs who pre-install Windows on their products.