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In the tech-savvy world of the 21st century, Microsoft is synonymous with computing. Its operating systems, software, and innovative solutions have reshaped the way we interact with technology. However, every giant has humble beginnings. Before the dominance of Windows or the ubiquity of Office, Microsoft had its inaugural step in the vast ocean of software and computing. Let’s delve into a surprising fact: Microsoft’s first product wasn’t an operating system.

1. Microsoft’s First Product Wasn’t an Operating System

Microsoft's First Product Wasn't an Operating System

Many associate Microsoft with its famous Windows operating system, but the company’s first product was far from it. In 1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen developed a version of the BASIC programming language for the Altair 8800, the first commercially successful personal computer. This small but significant beginning marked the inception of a technological empire that would redefine computing.

2. The “Windows” Name Was Initially Temporary

The "Windows" Name Was Initially Temporary

The name “Windows” is now synonymous with personal computing for many people, but it was not originally intended to be the permanent name for Microsoft’s graphical operating system. The project was initially called “Interface Manager.” However, the team felt that “Windows” was more descriptive of the boxes or “windows” that represented applications, so the name stuck.

3. Bill Gates Was a School Dropout

Bill Gates Was a School Dropout

Co-founder Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest individuals globally, was a Harvard dropout. He left the prestigious institution in 1975 to follow his passion for computer programming and create software that would make personal computing accessible. His gamble paid off, propelling Microsoft to the forefront of the tech world.

4. Microsoft Created a Comic Book Character

Microsoft Created a Comic Book Character

In an unexpected creative twist, Microsoft once introduced a comic book character named “Johnny Antivirus.” Created to teach children about computer viruses in the early ’90s, this playful initiative represents Microsoft’s unique approach to cybersecurity education, blending entertainment and learning. Sorry, we couldn’t find a picture of Johnny Antivirus If you can please send us it :).

5. Microsoft Once Owned a Significant Part of Apple

Microsoft Once Owned a Significant Part of Apple

Few know that Microsoft once invested $150 million in its arch-rival, Apple. In 1997, Apple was in a tough financial position, and Microsoft’s investment provided much-needed capital. This act, though controversial, was vital for Apple’s survival and demonstrates the intricate relationships in the tech industry.


6. The “Blue Screen of Death” Has an Internal Mascot

The "Blue Screen of Death" Has an Internal Mascot

Microsoft’s infamous “Blue Screen of Death” is known by nearly every Windows user. What’s less known is that the error screen has an internal mascot named “The Blue Monster.” This whimsical character embodies Microsoft’s ability to approach its challenges with humour and grace.

7. Microsoft’s Campus Houses an Enormous Art Collection

Microsoft's Campus Houses an Enormous Art Collection

Beyond technology, Microsoft has an appreciation for art. The company’s Redmond campus is home to over 5,000 pieces of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs. This impressive collection represents Microsoft’s commitment to creativity and innovation in all forms.

8. Flight Simulator is Microsoft’s Longest-Running Product

Flight Simulator is Microsoft's Longest-Running Product

Microsoft’s Flight Simulator predates its operating systems and office products, making it the company’s longest-running product line. First launched in 1982, it has become a gold standard for flight simulation, beloved by aviation enthusiasts for its realism and attention to detail.

9. Microsoft’s First Hardware Was a Mouse

Microsoft's First Hardware Was a Mouse

Microsoft’s expansion into hardware began with a simple mouse. Released in 1983, it was designed to complement Microsoft’s software and provide an intuitive way for users to interact with their computers. This seemingly modest venture opened the door to other hardware, such as Surface tablets and Xbox gaming consoles.

10. Microsoft Was Almost Named “Micro-Soft”

Microsoft Was Almost Named "Micro-Soft"

The hyphen in the original name “Micro-Soft” might seem trivial, but it symbolizes the company’s evolution. The name, a fusion of “microcomputer” and “software,” was chosen by Gates and Allen in 1975. Later, the hyphen was dropped, and Microsoft became a brand recognized worldwide.

Microsoft’s story is a captivating blend of technology, innovation, risks, and surprises. From its humble beginnings with BASIC to its status as a global technology leader, Microsoft has continually pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in the digital realm. The company’s dedication to creativity, its willingness to collaborate (even with rivals), and its commitment to excellence are all part of what makes Microsoft not just a technology company, but a cultural icon.

These top 10 facts only scratch the surface of Microsoft’s rich and multifaceted history. As technology continues to evolve and new challenges arise, Microsoft’s legacy as an innovator and leader is sure to grow, fueled by a spirit of invention that shows no signs of slowing down.

“We’ve reached the end of our Top 10 countdown, and we’d love to hear from you! Do you agree with our choices, or is there something we missed that you feel deserves a spot on this list? Let’s start a conversation – comment below with your thoughts and ideas. Your input might just influence our next Top 10!”

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