Name an institution so large that the operating system it owns is nearly in every computer on earth. Except for Apple of course. But that is not a problem.
Apple, Inc. would not be at the point it is now if it wasn’t for Bill Gates and all the Microsoft Corporation. Many call the story of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs “The greatest story ever told“.
This famous story had been quite accurately portrayed in a 90s movie called “Pirates of Silicon Valley“.
Let’s start from the very beginning. So what was happening at the time when Microsoft and Apple arose from nowhere? The largest giant in the computing industry was IBM, which is an acronym for International Business Machines. The name could not be more cold and senseless. IBM was making an average consumer avoid computers and leave them to corporations. There hadn’t been much progress with the computers at that time. But the day has come which would later change the path of the future.
One day in 1976, a technology magazine put Altair 8800 microcomputer on their cover. And that magazine had reached the hands of technology geeks. Some of those geeks were Harvard students, Bill Gates and Paul Allen.
Paul Allen had showed Bill the magazine and it was at that time when guys realized that they cannot miss this massive technology revolution.
That Altair 8800, world’s first minicomputer, was actually quite dumb and was only able to flash some lights. Those lights had an order of flashing, of course.
Bill and Paul immediately know what needs to be done sooner or later. There had to be some kind of software connected to this stupid microcomputer. That software would allow the computer to possibly be connected with a screen.
The guys, fortunately also had a friend, a business administration student Steve Ballmer. Young friends knew that if this software creation was possible, the world would experience a true technology revolution.
A computer with a screen would become something like a fully controllable television set.
Right away, three heroes wrote a letter to the company that built Altair 8800 and requested a meeting. They told the business owner that they already had the software (which they didn’t) to connect to the hardware.
So using a programming handbook and not really having any possibility to test their code, Bill and Paul had been working non-stop for a few weeks to make it happen. So the day of this meeting had come and friends finally met Ed Roberts, the owner of the company called Mits, which had produced Altair 8800.
Ed Roberts, the owner of Mits was astounded by the software boys had written. The surprise was mutual, Altair 8800 builder and Bill with Paul were shocked that both, Geeks’ software and company’s hardware worked together perfectly.
Young coders were being mentored and had worked together with Ed Roberts, the pioneer of personal computers. At that time, Bill, Paul and Steve had already started the company called Microsoft. A combination between the words “microcomputer” and “software“.
While still working with Ed Roberts and dropping out of law school, Bill Gates and his close friends decided to go to the largest dog in town. IBM at the time was very bureaucratic and had incredible difficulty making decisions, especially the ones where software and computer designs came in place.
They just needed some competent company to help them get software on their hardware, because they that just that. So what made history was he first meeting Bill Gates and his friends had taken with IBM.
Bill Gates did just what he was already used to doing. He told the board of IBM that he already had the operating system. Gates had to sign a non-disclosure agreement with IBM as well.
Bill Gates then stated looking of who might have the operating system, the one IBM needed and he came across Digital Resources, a company owned and controlled by a computer scientist Gary Kildall. Kildall is actually the man who built the first operating system and was doing quite well with his company at the time.
So Bill Gates, having IBM sitting on his shoulders came up with a mischievous plan to get Gary Kindall’s operating system’s rip-off and just license it to IBM. That is exactly what Gates did and this plan went incredibly well.
Licensing to the computers giant made Microsoft one of the largest players in the technology field and people now were able to own and use their first personal computers with screens. However, another tactic of Microsoft was to get off IBM and start licensing to any other tech company who wanted software.
This action made the company independent and had given it very much power. So the company started making large amounts of money from software licensing and had become one of the top three technology companies at that time.
Soon, some serious problems arose which lead Bill Gates and his company Microsoft to having some unpleasant experiences. The US government sued Microsoft for different breaches of user data, anti-competitive business practices and soon Gates had become one of the most hated men in the country.
There had been a rough public cross-examination of Bill Gates which is still available to watch on YouTube. However, all that did not last very long and Microsoft had begun to thrive again with innovation and lead in the industry.
“The greatest story ever told“. It’s a story of friendship, power, family and vision for the future. Bill Gates and his team had approached Apple in the 80s, offering to partner up with it. Steve Jobs agreed and a super-productive period for computers and technology started.
There have been times when Steve Jobs accused Bill of stealing the operating system but the reality is that both Steve and Bill had stolen the whole concept of the software from Xerox. The famous film is called “Pirates of Silicon Valley” because of these events.
All this stealing started when Gates got Gary Kindall’s operating system’s rip-off and licensed to all who wanted it. That followed with both Steve and Bill’s teams getting to know Xerox software, functionality and the computer mouse “user experience“, as they call it today.
Later on after Apple started getting into more and more financial trouble and was slowly going bankrupt, mostly because of Steve Jobs being fired. Right when Steve Jobs got back to Apple he found out how terribly managed and crashing down it was.
Luckily, Microsoft was able come in and take Apple from the sinking ship in a partnership involving Apple shares. One of the most ironic and memorable moments from this story of rivalry and rescue is when during a product introduction by Steve Jobs on stage, Bill Gates, the new partner was being shown and spoke on a huge screen above the stage.
This almost recreated Apple’s greatest advertisement, in which the Big Brother from George Orwell’s novel “1984” is also being shown on the screen of the stage.
However crazy these times these must have been, Microsoft had saved Apple from bankruptcy and if that didn’t happen, we would not have neither Iphone nor Mac today. Anyway, here we are talking about Microsoft Corporation not any other.
There are lots of things we haven’t discussed such as the current leadership, products, market share, stock, failures, victories and vision for the future.
Bill Gates had already been away from Microsoft for 2 generations of leaders, if you may. First Gates replaced himself with his old precious friend Steve Ballmer, also a board member from the young days of the company.
After, Satya Nadella, an Indian man, great employee and previous president of Microsoft Cloud and enterprise group had become the CEO of the company. Steve Ballmer definitely has to be remembered as an influential and good leader as well.
With his business development background, Steve, of course was obsessed over sales and business operations.
However, Steve Ballmer was putting Iphone down the rails in his interviews, saying that people were not going to be using it. Wrong. Another mistake made by Ballmer, this time way larger than the Iphone prediction was the Nokia phone.
Getting Windows operating system implemented in Nokia and no other smartphone had become one of the largest flaws the company had experienced throughout the years. But under Steve Ballmer’s lead, Microsoft Azure web services were being developed, which now turns out to be one of the greatest out there.
Microsoft Azure was put in development and had been troubling engineers quite a bit. But with the president of cloud and enterprise at the time, no other than Satya Nadella, Azure was finally done and is the second largest web services platform worldwide after AWS (Amazon Web Services).
Obviously Microsoft had some terrible mistakes making those Nokia Windows phones and not letting in any other brand for development and Windows implementation. But the things this company is doing today are incomparable to any previous flaw.
During the coronavirus pandemic platforms like Microsoft Office, including Teams, Outlook, Word, Excel and many more are absolutely cannot be exchanged. For the past few years, with the lead of Satya Nadella, the company started innovating at a very high pace.
With competition like Amazon on its tail, the corporation cannot be just a software company. Today Microsoft is rapidly expanding into industries such as gaming, touchscreen personal computers, quantum computing and is even throwing its Azure data centers in the ocean!
It is safe to say that without both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs’ achievements, our personal computers would not be where they are today.
It is often difficult to realize how the operating system which runs our devices could be coded and made when there was almost no information whatsoever on how a software should work or what it should so.
However powerful Microsoft is today, people and organizations who had done stuff and suffered from not being rewarded for it like Gary Kindall, Ed Roberts, Xerox.
We haven’t mentioned anything about Microsoft stock. We would just like to encourage you, the reader to go ahead to check those charts above, they really say a lot about a company.