It's an irony that one of the world's smartest people didn't even finish college. In 1975 he dropped out of Harvard to form an informal partnership with Paul Allen, "Micro-soft"; they invested all their time in BASIC, the first computer language program written for a personal computer. It wasn't until November 1976 that Microsoft became official, when it was registered at the Office of the Secretary of the State of New Mexico, and only in 1977 did the partnership between Bill and Paul Allen become official. That's also when they deliver their second language product, FORTRAN. In 1978, besides launching a third language, COBOL-80, Microsoft goes international by forming a strategic partnership with the founder of ASCII Corporation in Japan. The following year, the company also enters the European market and wins the ICP Million Dollar Award with the 8080 BASIC. This is an important indicative of the growth and acceptance of the PC industry.
Starting with the early 80s, Microsoft starts expanding the product range from languages to operating systems and its first hardware product, the SoftCard, designed for the Apple II users. The newly incorporated business signs a contract with IBM, the first version of MS-DOS being the primary result. Unfortunately, this operating system wasn't a very good one, requiring its users a thorough knowledge of command syntax.
The company moves into the realm of business with an electronic spreadsheet program, the Multiplan. Also at this time, the Microsoft Local Area Network (MILAN) becomes functional, linking all of Microsoft's in-house development computers.
1983 is an important year toward the development of a more user-friendly computer. In May the mouse is introduced, in September the Word processing program and in November Windows is announced, an extension of the MS-DOS operating system that provides a graphical operating environment. Windows allows a user to view unrelated application programs simultaneously and it provides the capability to transfer data from one application program to another.
In the following years the company took a leading role in developing software for Macintosh. The Peripherals Division is also created to complement software product line. IBM chooses XENIX and MS-DOS for its new computer, AT and in 1987 the OS/2 is announced as the first product that resulted from the Joint Development Agreement between IBM and Microsoft. That same year Windows 2.0 is announced; it featured overlapping windows and it supported expanding memory. BookShelf is shipped as the first general purpose application to bring the benefits of CD-ROM technology.
Toward the end of the decade Microsoft announced the SQL Server with Ashton Tate and expanded its partnership with IBM into the 90's.
The beginning of the new decade brings on the market a third edition of Windows (Windows 3.0) with dramatic performance increase, straightforward integration into corporate computing environments, ease of use and aesthetic appeal. Excel 3.0 for Windows 3.0 also becomes available and a graphical application development system, Visual BASIC, is released on the market along with the Multimedia Edition of Microsoft Works.
In 1992 the company starts advertising by kicking off its first-ever television advertising campaign (entitled "Where do you want to go today?"), to demonstrate the benefits of Windows-based computing to a new, broader...