Windows Timeline - InformationWeek

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Windows Timeline

An outline of major Windows happenings, along with computing milestones and world events for reference.

Which came first, Windows or OS/2? Which version of Windows had just been released when the iMac came out? What major world event occurred one month before the release of Windows XP?

The answers to these and other questions can be found in our handy-dandy Windows timeline. Read on and discover history.

•  The Making Of Windows 1.0

•  20 Years Of Windows Releases

•  Windows Timeline

•  The Future Of Windows

•  Reader Poll: What's Your
   Favorite Version Of Windows?

1975:  Paul Allen and Bill Gates found Microsoft. Their first product is a BASIC programming language for the Altair 8800.

1979:  Apple Computers' Steve Jobs visits Xerox' Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and is impressed by Alto, a computer with an early graphical user interface (GUI).

November 1980:  Ronald Reagan is elected U.S. president.

July 1981:  Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer are married in front of 750 million TV viewers.

August 1981:  IBM releases the Personal Computer, which features a brand new 16-bit operating system from Microsoft called MS-DOS 1.0.

August 1982:  The Commodore 64, one of the first popular home computers, is launched.

November 1983:  Microsoft formally announces Microsoft Windows, a DOS-based operating system with a mouse-based GUI that would provide a multitasking environment for IBM PCs. IBM executives, hard at work on their own multitasking interface (named Top View), aren't impressed.

January 1984:  Apple releases the Macintosh 128K.

September 1985:  Apple lawyers threaten Bill Gates with lawsuits, claiming that the drop-down menus, windows, and mouse support in the soon-to-be-released Windows 1.0 infringe on Apple copyrights and patents. Microsoft makes -- and Apple subsequently accepts -- an offer to license Apple's OS features.

October 1985:  The first Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is released.

November 1985:  Two years past the promised ship date, Microsoft ships Windows 1.0. In an ominous pattern that will repeat itself several times over the next 20 years, users uncover numerous bugs in the fledgling OS. The OS initially flounders, lacking application support.

April 1986:  A reactor at a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, U.S.S.R., explodes, causing widespread radioactive contamination.

January 1987:  Aldus releases a Windows-compatible version of PageMaker, the first WYSIWYG desktop-publishing program for the PC.


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