Looking back to the origin of Windows OS, 35 years ago
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Looking back to the origin of Windows OS, 35 years ago

Looking back to the origin of Windows OS, 35 years ago

35 years ago, on November 20, 1985, Microsoft introduced the world to its new operating system: Windows 1.0.

  • For the longest time, other brands like Apple and IBM had been duking it out in the PC market
  • While Windows 1.0 was not exactly welcomed with open arms and applause, instead receiving a mixed reaction, it did set the stage for things to come
  • Ever since its first iteration, Windows had introduced features that we still find in our Windows PCs today

35 years ago, on November 20, 1985, Microsoft introduced the world to its new operating system: Windows 1.0. For the longest time, other brands like Apple and IBM had been duking it out in the PC market, and while Windows 1.0 was not exactly welcomed with open arms and applause, instead receiving a mixed reaction, it did set the stage for things to come.

Ever since its first iteration, Windows had introduced features that we still find in our Windows PCs today. 

"While Windows 10 doesn’t look anything like Windows 1.0, it still has many of its original fundamentals like scroll bars, drop-down menus, icons, dialog boxes, and apps like Notepad and MS paint," The Verge highlighted

"With Windows 1.0, Microsoft took the important step of focusing on apps and core software," the news site continued. "IBM held onto the fundamentals of the PC architecture for a few years, but Microsoft made it easy for rivals and software developers to create apps, ensuring that Windows was relatively open and easy to reconfigure and tweak. PC manufacturers flocked to Windows, and the operating system attracted support from important software companies."

Windows 1.0 GUI Image: Remember the dot, Wikipedia

Additionally, Windows 1.0 put a huge focus on using the mouse for input, as opposed to traditional text-based commands. 

"In the early ’80s, the tech press regarded mouse-based graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and multitasking as the hot new thing," HowToGeek writes. "It was similar to the current craze over augmented reality and neural networks."

The original brochure advertising Windows 1.0. Image: Michael Holley

Over the years, Microsoft continued to improve on this original version of Windows, producing several hits like Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 10, but also several duds, like Windows ME, Windows Vista, and Windows 8. 

Read: Goodbye Windows 7, it was a good run

Here is a list of the versions that followed the original Windows 1.0: 

  • Windows 2.0 (1987)
  • Windows 2.1x (1988)
  • Windows 3.0 (1990)
  • Windows 3.1x (1992)
  • Windows NT 3.1 (1993)
  • Windows NT 3.5 (1994)
  • Windows NT 3.51 (1995)
  • Windows 95 (1995)
  • Windows NT 4.0 (1996)
  • Windows 98 (1998)
  • Windows 2000 (2000)
  • Windows ME (2000)
  • Windows XP (2001)
  • Windows Vista (2006)
  • Windows 7 (2009)
  • Windows 8 (2012)
  • Windows 8.1 (2013)
  • Windows 10 (2015)

Its current OS, Windows 10, remains a solid entry into the Windows OS line, with tweaks coming out often to keep it fresh and optimized. There isn't any solid info on when a potential Windows 11 or 12 will drop, so it seems we'll be stuck with Windows 10 for the time being. 

Today, while Microsoft has enjoyed tremendous success in the PC OS market over the past 4 decades, it faces a challenge in the form of smartphones and tablets. Unlike its competitor in the personal computer space, Apple, Windows did not succeed in its smartphone OS venture. Its OS availability was often limited to smartphone brands like Nokia, which did not find much traction in a market dominated by phones run with iOS and Android. 

Read: Worldwide PC shipments increased 3.6% in Q3 2020, says Gartner

Author
Mark Anthony Karam

Mark Anthony Karam was an Editor at AMEinfo between 2018-2021. You can get in touch with him on LinkedIn here: linkedin.com/in/m-a-karam/

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