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Large software and hardware developer, by sales value their software division is second only to SAP worldwide. The company was the co-author of PC DOS and OS/2 1.x alongside IBM and the developer of Microsoft Windows, although both DOS and Windows were originally acquired from other companies. The company originally styled its name as MicroSoft as it was a shortened combination of the words "Microcomputer Software".


The company was founded in April 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen with the intent of delivering programming products for microcomputers, initially focusing on the FOCAL and BASIC languages due to their small sizes. The company first hit their stride after MITS hired them to deliver a Basic interpreter (Altair BASIC) for the Altair 8800 personal computer.


In 1976 the company's first product Microsoft BASIC was released for MOS KIM-1. Later versions followed for other 6502 and 680x based machines. The company made a deal with IBM in 1981 to supply them with a Basic interpreter and operating system for the forthcoming IBM PC.

Microsoft logo 1982.png
Microsoft co-founders Paul Allen & Bill Gates.
Photo taken ca 1981 and features some of the computer systems the company had provided BASIC software for.
Photo copyright Microsoft Corp. 1981.

The first version of Microsoft Windows was introduced in 1985.


Languages (OS/2)
Toolkits (OS/2)
Languages (DOS)
  • C
  • Macro Assembler
  • Pascal
  • QuickBASIC
Languages (DOS/Windows)
Operating Systems