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  • Microsoft Windows debuted in 1985. And for the past two

  • decades, it has been the dominant PC operating system

  • worldwide. In 2020, Windows had almost 83% market share by unit

  • shipments. While Google Chrome OS had 10%. And Apple's Mac OS

  • had 7%.

  • Bill Gates, his vision was to put a PC on every desk, in every

  • home. We've struck a chord with Windows where people feel like

  • it's their product. It's their operating system. From Solitaire

  • to its iconic Start button and startup sounds, productivity

  • apps, gaming and corporate computing. Windows changed the

  • way we use computers. The legendary Windows 95 help propel

  • the company to dominate the market in personal computing.

  • Microsoft has introduced many versions of Windows since its

  • inception, with some more memorable than others. Today,

  • there are more than 1.3 billion devices running Windows 10

  • worldwide on a monthly basis and roughly 800 million users every

  • day.

  • Many of its deployments, if not most are within corporations.

  • Where it gets becomes part of a corporate ecosystems,

  • corporations manage it and secure it and make it part of

  • their own.

  • Windows only makes up 14% of Microsoft's business, but

  • remains a critical part of it.

  • Windows has been a key piece of Microsoft's business almost from

  • the beginning. It wasn't just critical because it sold PCs.

  • Windows was critical because it sold office the graphical user

  • interface programs Word, Excel, PowerPoint, you know, that's why

  • it's been critical to their business and remains critical

  • today.

  • The company just announced the latest version Windows 11, we

  • take a look back over three decades of Windows and how it

  • came to dominate. Today, lots of things have operating systems,

  • computers, phones, TVs, even cars. An operating system or OS

  • allows users and applications to work with hardware without the

  • need to enter lines of code. Back in the 1980s, using a

  • computer It was very complex.

  • The motivation for Windows from the very beginning was to

  • improve it to remove those barriers to make it as

  • effortless as possible to get the most out of the technology

  • that you had available to you.

  • Windows was not the first OS Microsoft made. When it was

  • first getting started. It developed MS-DOS 1.0., short for

  • Microsoft disk operating system, for computer maker IBM.

  • Microsoft specified that IBM would not have exclusive rights

  • to the software, leaving open the opportunity for the company

  • to supply other hardware and computer makers the same OS.

  • Microsoft started to understand that interface design was

  • critical not just to Windows but to all of its applications.

  • Windows was not thought of as an operating system in the early

  • days, but a graphical user interface or GUI that would run

  • on top of MS-DOS. One of the first personal computers that

  • used a GUI was the Xerox star, which would be very influential,

  • according to Bill Gates, on both Microsoft and Apple's GUI

  • designs,

  • Bill really believed that this was the future for the company.

  • So there was heavy pressure to get this thing to market.

  • Microsoft released Windows 1.0 in November 1985,

  • it was a little bit clunky or quirky. Plus Windows had the

  • challenge that Jobs and Apple didn't have. They just had to

  • make it run on their hardware. We had to make it run on all

  • those different MS-DOS machines that were in the market at the

  • time.

  • Apple's Lisa was the first commercial PC to have a GUI and

  • in 1984, the company unveiled the Macintosh. At the time,

  • Microsoft created software specifically for new Macs,

  • including the first version of Microsoft Word. The two

  • companies made a confidential agreement in 1985 that allowed

  • Microsoft to use any of Apple's interface elements in its

  • software. After Windows 2.0 was released, Apple sued Microsoft

  • for copyright infringement. However, the court said Apple's

  • copyrights were covered by the existing agreement. Apple

  • appealed several times, but the court denied their petitions. At

  • the time, Microsoft was building another OSs in parallel with

  • IBM, which was called OS/2.

  • At that point from Steve's perspective was destined to be

  • the future in that Windows was kind of stepping stone to that,

  • but that Windows would not continue once they had completed

  • that joint project with IBM. Bill didn't quite see it that

  • way. But eventually the whole thing got terminated.

  • Then we really moved to the one that kicked it all off. And that

  • was Windows 3.0. That's when it really became serious.

  • Windows 3.0 was where users were introduced to Solitaire, which

  • was designed to help users learn how to drag and drop using a

  • mouse. It also could run multiple applications on top of

  • one another. Three months after 3.0 launched, 1 million copies

  • had shipped worldwide. And by 1993, there were 25 million

  • licensed users of Windows globally and 60% of PCs came

  • with Windows pre installed. The way

  • that Windows 3 took off and captured the attention and

  • people's excitement caused a fundamental reckoning inside

  • Microsoft of what our applications and operating

  • system strategy should be.

  • Then came Windows 95. The marketing campaign for Windows

  • 95 is legendary. Microsoft paid the Rolling Stones for the

  • rights to use 'Start Me Up' to roll out its new feature the

  • Start button. People lined up for hours at electronic stores

  • to get their hands on it. When Windows 95 launched, Microsoft

  • had 75 million users of the latest version of Windows 3.

  • Microsoft generated $30 million dollars in revenue on the first

  • day it sold Windows 95. At the time, Windows was used on 80% of

  • all PCs with more than 100 million users worldwide.

  • It was really Windows 95 that solidified Windows and started

  • the move towards Windows being a dominant operating system. In

  • the early 90s, PCs are really just tools for using

  • spreadsheets or databases that wasn't something like an

  • everyday person would ever think what would I need a personal

  • computer for. We wanted to democratize computing,

  • Microsoft was becoming a dominant force in the PC

  • industry. Its main competitors at the time were Apple and IBM.

  • And despite not abandoning OS/2, IBM would sell computers with

  • Windows 95 pre installed.

  • You had two things occurring at one time that affected

  • Microsoft's revenue. Not only did you have a new version of

  • the operating system, but hardware had changed

  • significantly enough that enterprises and consumers

  • upgraded their hardware and their OS's. You got to remember

  • that every time a new PC is purchased, a certain amount of

  • money goes to Microsoft for that operating system.

  • Windows 95 offered lots of new features like faxing, messaging

  • and networking that previously required separate programs to

  • run.

  • We also were committed to it being worldwide, we were able to

  • ship Windows 95 simultaneously in eight languages. People

  • thought we were crazy. But we wanted to have that kind of

  • worldwide impact. That was very differentiated from the IBM more

  • enterprise focused view of the world, or the Apple, who we're

  • focused on the creative people in business.

  • Never underestimate the role the Windows played in selling the

  • other products. It's sold developer tools, it's sold

  • Office, it's sold Office. It pulled a lot of products with

  • it. And if you weren't making the changes that you needed to

  • make in the operating system, you were not going to sell those

  • other products and in fact, you are going to hamper their

  • development.

  • During the late 90s, technology was rapidly changing. Personal

  • computing and the Internet were becoming more widely used. Bill

  • Gates sent a memo titled The Internet Tidal Wave where he

  • said "I want to make clear that our focus on the internet is

  • crucial to every part of our business."

  • When the Internet came about, you know, we're very proud to

  • have that, in a sense be birthed on the Windows platform. That's

  • where the Internet started. Now many people use it on their

  • mobile phone, but it started there with Netscape and then

  • with our you know, Internet Explorer browser.

  • In the 1990s, Microsoft was under legal scrutiny for using

  • its dominant position to scare off competition. For much of

  • that decade, its share of Intel-compatible PC operating

  • systems was above 90%. When Microsoft launched Internet

  • Explorer, Netscape Navigator already dominated the internet

  • browser market. But in 1998, the US government accused the

  • company of using its dominance in computer software to drive

  • competitors out of business. The antitrust suit debated whether

  • Microsoft forced computer makers to exclude a Netscape browser on

  • their PCs. A judge ruled the company unlawfully tied Internet

  • Explorer to Windows and ruled the company needed to be split

  • up. It was around this time that Bill Gates stepped down as CEO

  • and Steve Ballmer took over, but in 2002, an appeals court threw

  • out the ruling, the company settled and agreed to a consent

  • decree and barred the company from entering into Windows

  • agreements that excluded competitors. It unveiled Windows

  • 98, 2000, Me and XP in quick succession. These versions added

  • remote desktop, stronger security and graphic interface

  • updates. Today,

  • it really is actually the the end of the MS-DOS era. It's also

  • we would say the end of the Windows 95 era. Windows XP is

  • the most powerful, fastest, most reliable operating system we

  • have ever done. Together with Office XP, Windows XP will set a

  • new standard for business. He really was building the product

  • for the enterprise use, which ultimately became the foundation

  • for the Windows product itself, but it took a while. It really

  • took till XP, before the crossover could be fully made.

  • Microsoft made sure to pay attention to what business users

  • were asking for big companies that were deploying thousands of

  • Windows PCs. And once those companies are in Windows, and

  • they start building internal applications for Windows, many

  • employees get used to using those programs. All of that

  • makes a formidable base that companies are maybe reluctant to

  • leave. That is one piece of the enduring success of Windows.

  • Windows went through good and bad cycles, Vista interacted

  • differently with programs and previous versions of Windows.

  • Users experienced applications running at slower speeds,

  • problems with graphics and other hardware connection issues. That

  • whole management team got kicked out after the disaster of Vista.

  • And they put the people that had been in charge of Office in

  • charge of Windows. But then Windows 7 kind of fixed that.

  • 8 was sort of Microsoft's new coke moment, they tried to

  • change the operating system, particularly as it's exposed to

  • the user too much. A lot of people just couldn't cope with

  • the degree of change that occurred.

  • A lot of the frustrations that we had with Windows 8, there was

  • no Start menu that was unfamiliar to people and

  • companies would say I need to train my employees. And you

  • know, the Windows 8 team, I give him credit for pushing the

  • boundaries, but they became too unfamiliar.

  • Windows 8 had a touch friendly design like a smartphone.

  • Microsoft did develop a mobile OS. But the company failed to

  • win a leadership position. In

  • hindsight, I give Apple and Google credit for investing

  • appropriately to capture the mobile opportunity at the right

  • time. By the time you know, we were all in on mobile. And the

  • same thing could be said of search by the way. By the time

  • we were all in on search, it wasn't five years to late, it

  • was really like two years to late. And that's a lifetime in

  • technology.

  • We constantly try and stay focused on the customers who use

  • the PC and use Windows but then along are coming mobile phones

  • and with the advent of these smartphones that could do web

  • browsing and phone calls. They became a platform. No, we missed

  • the phone wave. I mean, it's no no secret, right? We tried with

  • Windows Phone, I think we had a pretty good offering. You know

  • at that time, I would say hey, look, we didn't see the advent

  • of the mobile phone becoming a full computing platform.

  • In 2014 Satya Nadella replaced Steve Balmer as CEO,

  • Windows 10 ushers in an era of more personal computing in a

  • mobile first, cloud first world. In Windows 10, what they've done

  • is they've kind of blended the best of the old so we bring back

  • the start menu that folks were comfortable with on Windows 7,

  • they also brought Cortana to the PC. Cortana is kind of

  • Microsoft's answer to Siri. And then with Windows 10, our

  • challenge was to maintain the frontier of a technical question

  • to touch but make it more familiar,

  • which again, when you think about a billion users, it is a

  • challenge. Microsoft kept some of those touch friendly features

  • and features that worked well with a stylus. But ultimately,

  • it turned out that iOS and Android could coexist alongside

  • Windows on PCs. While Windows for phones became less and less

  • and less popular.

  • Microsoft began to de emphasize Windows with Satya Nadella

  • saying in 2019, "the operating system is no longer the most

  • important layer for us." That was after the company split the

  • Windows team into pieces the year before. Two main

  • engineering teams now focused on experiences and devices and

  • cloud and AI platforms. Two major areas of focus of the

  • company moving forward.

  • Microsoft has seen its Azure Cloud business grow as companies

  • look beyond their corporate server closets and try to add

  • computing resources to meet the demand of their IT departments

  • during the pandemic. So beyond Azure and gaming, and office.

  • Also, you have this thing called Windows and sales of Windows

  • licenses to device makers that are related to consumer PCs have

  • gone up considerably.

  • Even though the company's vision of Windows became broader, it's

  • still a huge source of revenue and dominates the desktop OS

  • market. After six years, the company announced a new version

  • of Windows. Windows 11.