With Bill Gates celebrating his 58th birthday this month, we’ve taken the opportunity to reflect on some of the biggest creations offered by Gates, which have formed part of the Microsoft portfolio.
Following its initial launch of Windows in November 1995, one of Microsoft’s biggest commercial successes would be with Windows 95. Now dating back some 18 years following its release in August 1995, the advancements made by Microsoft with this operating system allowed for the successful integration of both Windows and MS-DOS, with the graphical user interface providing for ease of use and the inclusion of new features such as the taskbar, start menu and the ability to close, minimize and maximize each window. Windows 95 quickly became the market leader, having sold over 7 million copies in its first five weeks of sales, helped in part by the extensive advertising campaign which launched the product including the Rolling Stones song Start Me Up featuring in commercials, with the Empire State Building also lit up with the colours which feature in the Windows logo.
With the first version of Microsoft Office featuring only Word, Excel and PowerPoint and dating back to November 1990, it would be Microsoft Office 3.0 which would allow the application to be installed from CD-ROMS for the first time, with the addition of features such as Microsoft Mail to the offering. Microsoft Office 4.3 would also see the first inclusion of Access to the Pro Edition. Microsoft Office 97 would contain a vast number of additional improvements and would see the first appearance of the Office Assistant. Office has come a long way with today’s packages offering the user a wealth of applications, as well as SharePoint workspace in its latest version, Microsoft Office 2013.
Microsoft’s game console Xbox hit the shelves in the USA in November 2001, with Europe having to wait until March the following year to try it out. Launched to rival the PlayStation 2, the Xbox would achieve phenomenal success going on to sell over 24 million consoles. With Xbox Live available from Microsoft bringing a new dimension to game play following its release in November 2002, Microsoft continued to grow the Xbox brand with Xbox 360 appearing in November 2005 taking on the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3. With the Xbox 360 again proving a massive success with over 78 million units sold, we are left eagerly awaiting the launch of Xbox One on November 22nd this year.
Following Bill Gates’ famous memo The Internet Tidal Wave, which acknowledged the significance and importance that the development of the internet posed, Microsoft launched Internet Explorer in August 1995, it took the form of an adapted version of Mosaic which was on license by Microsoft from Spyglass Inc. at the time. Microsoft’s web browser would prove to be hugely popular with the majority of the market share. With direct competition from the likes of Google Chrome and Firefox which joined the market later, Internet Explorer still maintains a significant market share, with Internet Explorer 11 having been released in October 2013.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Founded in 1997 and one of Gates’ biggest personal creations, is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which focusses on ways to globally support and improve in areas such as extreme poverty and healthcare. The Foundation offers significant support in the fight against Malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS and well as working to eradicate Polio. The Foundation’s work also includes a Global Development Programme, and a United States Programme, the latter of which covers support for Schools and Universities including the funding of buildings and also offers scholarships. Bill Gates has donated in the region of $28billion of his personal fortune to the Foundation, as stated in a recent Bloomberg report, and the amazing work carried out by the Foundation on a worldwide basis, has helped countless individuals to achieve a better life.