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How Microsoft Started

Microsoft is an American multinational technology company founded on 4 April 1975. Its first building was located at Albuquerque, New Mexico but it was shortly relocated to Redmond, Washington which has been its main headquarters ever since. Microsoft is first and foremost a company focused on developing and delivering software. However, 46 years since it was founded, Microsoft has become a household name and has spread its wings to so many platforms, businesses and charities.

The Founders of Microsoft

Microsoft founders, the late Paul Allen and Bill Gates, were childhood friends who met in Lakeside High School during the 1960s. They both enjoyed using the school’s computer terminals but since those devices at the time were expensive (around 40$ per hour), the two friends exploited a bug in the system so that they can use it for longer without the fees increasing.

Allen and Gates were eventually caught, however this moment led to them making a deal with the school where they get free computer time whenever they help find and solve problems in the system.

Summer after high school in 1974, Allen and Gates worked as programmers at a software company called Honeywell. By 1975, Gates decided to drop out of Harvard to focus on Microsoft with Allen.

Company Name

Microsoft is a combination of two words: microcomputer and software.

Microsoft’s Struggle

During the early stages of Microsoft’s launch, Bill Gates biggest struggle was self-confidence about his company’s success. As Microsoft became more popular, the software companies that he idolized went out of business and he was scared that his company would be next.

When Gates was still in high school, he wished to become a mathematics professor since he had the brains for it but Allen encouraged him to focus on Microsoft. Transitioning from an academic route to a tech and entrepreneurial route meant that Gates had to go out of his comfort zone but he owed it to Allen for believing in him when he was doubting himself.

The Company’s First Product

Microsoft’s very first product was the Altair BASIC. In January 1975, Allen was reading a magazine called Electronics Popular when he stumbled upon an article about the Altair 8800 microcomputer. He showed it to Gates who proceeded to call MITS, the makers of Altair, to help them write a new version of BASIC programming language for the company. Both parties strike up a deal where they market the new product as Altair BASIC and it is this product that inspired Allen and Gates to start their own company, Microsoft, on 4 April 1975 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

How Microsoft Succeeded

Microsoft isn’t the only software company in the market but it has been consistent on staying on top for the past four decades. Early competitors such as Novell and Borland who were seen as novel back in the day have now gone defunct. Over time, companies like Apple have taken over but it’s not like Microsoft has completely gone down the drain. So, what makes Microsoft so successful in maintaining relevancy throughout the times?

The secret lies in Microsoft spreading its footprint to several mediums, businesses and partnering with other companies. Microsoft has several mediums that are both made by the company itself and acquired from other companies. For example, Microsoft Office, Word, Excel, Microsoft Teams, Office 365, Xbox among many others are Microsoft’s own services whereas platforms such as Skype, LinkedIn and PowerPoint (yes, it was not formed by Microsoft but from a company called Forethought Inc.) were acquired by Microsoft.

Microsoft Is Here To Stay

At this rate, it’s going to be a long time until Microsoft becomes out of fashion. Perhaps, it will never go out of fashion as this company’s strength lies in finding opportunity where its services can be used.


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