Microsoft Corporation's journey: Four decades, three CEOs

Feb 05 2014, 11:52 IST
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In June 1980, Gates recruits former Harvard classmate Steve Ballmer to become the company's first business manager. AP In June 1980, Gates recruits former Harvard classmate Steve Ballmer to become the company's first business manager. AP
SummaryMicrosoft Corporation's board unanimously picks Nadella, 46, an Indian-born executive who led the creation of Microsoft's Internet-based or "cloud" computing services

Satya Nadella's elevation to CEO and co-founder Bill Gates' decision to relinquish his chairmanship at Microsoft Corporation marks a changing of the guard at a 39-year-old company that fueled the PC revolution but is now struggling to establish its long-term identity.

Here are some highlights in the four-decade journey of the world's largest software maker:

1975 - A 19-year-old Gates drops out of Harvard University and goes on to found Microsoft with childhood friend Paul Allen. They make their first product - a BASIC programming code interpreter for the Altair 8800 microcomputer.

1979 - With sales topping $1 million at the end of 1978, the company moves to Bellevue, Washington, from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

1980 - In June, Gates recruits former Harvard classmate Steve Ballmer to become the company's first business manager.

1981 - In August, Microsoft releases its new operating software Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-DOS). It begins running on IBM personal computers - a seminal moment for the company's future domination of personal computing systems.

1983 - Microsoft announces its new software "Windows," which aims to enhance the MS-DOS interface with visual features.

1985 - After spending two years in development, "Windows 1.0" begins to ship. Moving on from MS-DOS commands, which some users found challenging to master, the system used simple clicks of a mouse to work through tasks on screens or "windows."

1986 - Microsoft moves its corporate headquarters to Redmond, Washington. It goes public at $21 per share and raises about $60 million.

1988 - With the arrival of Windows 2.0 in 1987, computers start becoming more commonplace in the office. Microsoft becomes the largest PC software company based on global sales. 1990 to 1995 - Windows 3.0 is launched in 1990 and five years later, Windows 95 is released and sales surpass 1 million copies in four days. PC sales begin to explode as computers make their way into homes, schools and business, kicking off the "Windows era." 1995 - With the advent of the Internet, Microsoft introduces its Web browser "Internet Explorer."

1998 - Windows 98, the first consumer-focused version of Windows, is released. That same year, the U.S. Department of Justice files antitrust charges against Microsoft relating to bundling of its programs into its operating systems. U.S. regulators accuse the company of using its dominance in software and monopolistic practices to drive competitors out of business. 2000 - Ballmer succeeds Gates as CEO in January. The

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