The Windows operating system, developed by the software giant Microsoft, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Although it had a slow start in 80’s, Windows now run more than 90% of computers around the world.
November 20, 1985 is the date that marks the beginning of Windows (version 1.01, MS-DOS based), the first graphical operating system launched by Microsoft, established ten years earlier by Paul Allen and Bill Gates. The initial price for the OS was $ 99, which offered various applications such as word processing, databases management, notepad and a simple spreadsheet.
Windows 2 was released two years later, in December 1987, with the third version, Windows 3, on May 1990 (and Windows 3.1 in 1992). Windows 3.1 was essentially Microsoft’s first big commercial success. Marketed directly for PCs, the OS has a friendlier interface and more advanced features (it supports CD-ROMs, 24-bit color and others).
On August 24, 1995, just days before classes began, Microsoft released Windows 95. It was available on CD-ROM instead of floppies. Only in a few months Windows 95 dominated the computer industry. In computing terms, the operating system had made significant improvements, particularly in GUI (graphical user interface). It introduced the “Start” button at the bottom left of the screen and a taskbar, two features still present today. It also featured Internet Explorer to surf the Web that was still in its infancy. Windows 95 was replaced three years later by Windows 98 and the success was overwhelming.
Windows NT followed and dedicated for professionals and businesses, Windows ME (Millennium) was released in 2000, a failed successor to Windows 98 and Windows XP in 2001, which remains to this day as a Microsoft OS with the longest career (nearly ten years).
Windows XP was replaced by Windows Vista (2007) and Windows 7 (2009). To date, Windows 7 has received much more favorable reviews than Vista, thanks to its better usability and more advanced security.
According to a research in October 2010, Windows XP is still the most popular operating system most used, with nearly 59% market share, followed by Windows 7 (18.33%), Windows Vista (12.93%), and Mac OS X (less than 5% for all of its versions).
The consequences of this success are varied. For example, the proliferation of viruses, which mainly attack Windows systems and higher security threats from malicious people. Two years from now, Microsoft will release the eighth generation of Windows OS (Windows 8).