Jun 16, 2019 | Updated: 11:54 AM EDT

Happy Birthday Microsoft: What Microsoft Looks Like at Age 40

Apr 04, 2015 09:33 PM EDT

Microsoft sign outside building 99
(Photo : Robert Scoble/Flickr)

Forty years ago today, on April 4, 1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft. In the beginning, the small tech firm developed and sold BASIC interpreters. At the time neither Gates nor Allen had any idea that they just started what would become one of the largest software firms in the world.

Today, Microsoft is a part of almost everyone's life in one form or another. Whether its from using the Windows operating system which still holds approximately 90 percent of the personal computer market share or from its Office suite, one of the best productivity suites available. Today, some may even be using some of Microsoft's various cloud services or even enjoy a game or too on one of the Xbox consoles.

In the last 40 years, Microsoft has expanded into many different categories becoming both as software and hardware vendor. Today, it even creates software and hardware for computers, smartphones and even tablets. But at its core Microsoft is still a software company producing some of the best software in the world and holding patents for software on other platforms further expanding its revenue.

"Early on, Paul Allen and I set the goal of a computer on every desk and in every home. It was a bold idea and a lot of people thought we were out of our minds to imagine it was possible. It is amazing to think about how far computing has come since then, and we can all be proud of the role Microsoft played in that revolution", Gates wrote in an email sent to all Microsoft employees yesterday.

"In the coming years, Microsoft has the opportunity to reach even more people and organizations around the world. Technology is still out of reach for many people, because it is complex or expensive, or they simply do not have access. So I hope you will think about what you can do to make the power of technology accessible to everyone, to connect people to each other, and make personal computing available everywhere even as the very notion of what a PC delivers makes its way into all devices."

It's been a crazy forty years for the software company as it picked fights with many of its competitors and even found itself embroiled in various antitrust probes. Bill Gates laid the foundation upon which Microsoft is built with Steve Ballmer expanding the company into new fields including gaming with the Xbox. Now, Satya Nadella has taken the helm and is making bold decisions to move Microsoft forward into the future.

"Under Satya's leadership, Microsoft is better positioned than ever to lead these advances. We have the resources to drive and solve tough problems. We are engaged in every facet of modern computing and have the deepest commitment to research in the industry. In my role as technical advisor to Satya, I get to join product reviews and am impressed by the vision and talent I see. The result is evident in products like Cortana, Skype Translator, and HoloLens -- and those are just a few of the many innovations that are on the way."

Satya has changed things for Microsoft under is unwavering mobile first, cloud first strategy. This strategy, though different from how the company has operated in the past, seems to be working for the company.

Under his leadership, Microsoft has begun to open up about its shortcomings and working to follow its users. It finally released an iOS version of Office and redid the previously half-baked version that was available. This decision proved wise as the Office app shot to the top of the charts.

"We have accomplished a lot together during our first 40 years and empowered countless businesses and people to realize their full potential. But what matters most now is what we do next", Gates writes in his email.

Microsoft does indeed have a lot of good things going for it. Later this year it will release Windows 10, and Office 2016 is headed to both PC and Mac devices together for the first time. In addition Microsoft has showcased a number of products that could change how we interact with technology such as its augmented reality headset HoloLens.

So Happy Birthday Microsoft. Here's to another forty years.

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