On a day like today, 47 years ago, two young entrepreneurs legally constituted their business project, in the context of the computer boom in the 70s. It was the month of April, those two young men were Bill Gates and Paul Allen and, effectively, they were setting up Microsoftone of the most important companies in the history of computing and technology, as well as one of the most influential in its development and evolution.
It is hard to believe, today, that Gates and Allen were aware of how far the project they had just launched would go. His first commercial aspiration was, without a doubt, much more humble, to the point that, despite having created Microsoft, both kept their previous jobs for a while. Now, that doesn’t mean they didn’t have confidence in their project. Of this Gates, who at that time was studying at Harvard University, he packed his bags and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to set up shop with the company that would be his first client.
That client that Gates and Allen approached with Microsoft was MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems), creators of the Altair 8800. This computer, by itself, deserves a river of ink, but suffice it to say that, after starring on the cover of Popular Electronics, it became the spark that ignited the branch of the computer revolution. And Microsoft’s goal was to join that revolution but not with hardware, as many others were already doing, but with software. Not in vain its name is born from the contraction of MICROcomputer and SOFTware.
Microsoft and BASIC
Microsoft’s relationship with what, for many years, has been the easiest programming language to learn (not surprisingly, the B in its name comes from Begginers, beginners), and that is that Microsoft’s proposal to MITS for the Altair 8800 was a version of this language for his machine, the Altair BASIC. Microsoft I don’t think so, contrary to certain popular belief, in fact its origin dates back to 1964, when it was created by John George Kemeny and Thomas Eugene Kurtz at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, but they were the first to see a great opportunity of business.
Reached the agreement with MITS, knowing that Altair BASIC would be the first programming language for the Altair 8800, Gates and Allen formed Microsoft, which after this success began a rapid growth, thanks to which they were able toopen its first international office just three years later, in 1978, in Japan. And his presence in the country of the rising sun had a lot to do with a new version of Microsoft’s BASIC being responsible for the operation of computers MSX.
However, although in those days each computer belonged to “his father and his mother”, the arrival of standards was drawing near, Gates, Allen and Steve Ballmer, who had joined the team in 1980they knew how to see it, and in it they identified an enormous business potential in something that would be elementary for the computers that were to come: the operating system, a business area that does not need to explain how important it has been (and continues to be) for Microsoft throughout its history.
The rest, of course, is history.: the arrival of the IBM PC, MS-DOS, the first graphical interfaces with Windows, the jump to other areas of software with spreadsheets as a figurehead (I have known people who met Gates in face-to-face presentations). » of the virtues of spreadsheets), all with a Microsoft that, still led by a group of young people who saw the perfect opportunity at the right time, rose like wildfire. With lights and shadows, without a doubt, but signing what nobody can deny that it is a success story of those that are not seen so often.
Today the metamorphosis experienced by Microsoft is total. First it was a company of interpreters of programming languages, after operating systems, after applications, after services, after devices… and of course, as we remembered a few days ago, many projects fell by the wayside, but in the end that is the tribute to pay when your battlefield is a space as dynamic as that of technology.
With information from Wikipedia