The History of Windows

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Ever since the invention of the micro computer, there has been a definitive war between companies competing for their share of the professional and private computer market. There have been hundreds of operating systems produced over the years, most of them were not able to maintain a solid customer base, and became extinct. There are a few, however, that have eclipsed the computer world. There is a definite line between consumers for the three most popular operating systems, UNIX, Macintosh, and Windows. Microsoft, who produced Windows, gained wide public support almost from the beginning, leading to a near monopolization of the computer software industry. Here is a history of the Windows operating system as it was introduced back in 1985.

One of the earliest operating systems for the personal computer was Windows, produced by Microsoft. The first version of the operating system was released on November 20th, 1985 (Microsoft Windows History, 2008), under the name of Windows 1.0. Originally, Microsoft wanted to call the pioneer operating system “Interface Manager” describing its multi-tasking abilities, but Rowland Hanson, the head of marketing at Microsoft, wanted to go with a name that would be more appealing to consumers. Thus the “Windows” title was born. Version 1.0 of Windows was not actually a complete operating system, but rather an extension of MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) that gave customers a graphical user interface to simplify executing applications and documents. In the first version of Windows, all device drivers came loaded with the operating system, and applications could use only these pre-loaded drivers. Microsoft was always looking forward into the future, and wanted to develop technology that could be used for subsequent operating systems as well. As such, Windows 1.0 was the first program to develop and utilize ‘virtual memory’, a software based scheme that would allow for larger applications than the current available RAM (Random Access Memory). Microsoft faced many challenges when releasing its first wide-scale operating system. Apple, Microsoft’s rival and competing company, claimed that there were striking similarities to the operating system that had already been released by Apple that appeared in Microsoft’s operating system. Apple agreed to a licensing agreement by Microsoft to use their features in Windows 1.0 and all future versions of Windows (Apple v. Microsoft: Virtual Identity in the GUI Wars, 1999). This operating system had many flaws, and never really gained much popularity with businesses or consumers.

Windows 2.0 was released two year later, on December 9th, 1987 (Microsoft Windows History, 2008). It was much more popular than the previous version, much of that due to the fact that Microsoft teamed up with AT&T and packaged this system with AT&T computers as test software for many educational institutions. Version 2.0 added many added graphical functions, such as the ability for windows to overlap each other, as well as the ‘Minimize’ and ‘Maximize’ functions. Icons were first introduced to the Windows desktop, as well as several ‘outside applications’ such as Microsoft Word and Excel. The conflicts between Microsoft and Apple were far from over though, on March 17th, 1988, Apple filed suit against Microsoft and Hewlett Packard, accusing them of copyright violations. Apple claimed that the “look and feel” of the Macintosh operating system was copy written as a whole, and Windows 2.0 violated this copyright by looking extremely similar to it. Because the licensing agreement had been written by Bill Gates and Microsoft, Apple did not realize that they had given Microsoft permission to use many of its graphical features in any subsequent versions of Windows as well. On June 1st, 1993, after a four year court battle, Microsoft won the decision, and as a result, all other copyright suits were dismissed. (Apple v. Microsoft: Virtual Identity in the...
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