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The History of Microsoft - 1975

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Thirty-four years ago, a nineteen year old kid and his twenty-two year old business partner sold their first program to a little computer company in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The program was called BASIC, and it was the start of this company we call Microsoft

Today, we’re beginning a brand new series called The History of Microsoft. Travel with us back in time as we discover the roots of one of the world's most important technology companies. Using rare video and photos we bring you the heart of Microsoft's struggles and successes.  Year by Year. Every Thursday we will air a brand new episode beginning with 1975 where "The History of Microsoft" all began. 

We hope you enjoy this historical journey. 


1975 History of Microsoft Timeline:

January 1, 1975

The MITS Altair 8800 appears on the cover of Popular Electronics. The article inspires Paul Allen and Bill Gates to develop a BASIC language for the Altair.

February 1, 1975

Bill Gates and Paul Allen complete Altair BASIC and sell it to Microsoft’s first customer, MITS of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is the first computer language program for a personal computer.

March 1, 1975

Paul Allen joins MITS as director of software.

April 7, 1975

“Altair BASIC – Up and Running,” declares the headline of the first edition of MITS Computer Notes.

July 1, 1975

Bill Gates' and Paul Allen's BASIC officially ships as version 2.0 in both 4K and 8K editions.

July 22, 1975

Paul Allen and Bill Gates sign a licensing agreement with MITS regarding the Basic Interpreter. The name Microsoft has not yet been chosen, and Microsoft is not yet an official partnership.

July 29, 1975

In a letter to Paul Allen, Bill Gates uses the name "Micro-soft" to refer to their partnership. This is the earliest known written reference.

December 31, 1975

The 1975 year-end sales total equals 16,005 dollars, as detailed on Form 1065 U.S. Partnership Return of Income.


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  • Dan FernandezDan

    This footage is awesome, It's so cool seeing the first version of BASIC Smiley

    My favorite part of the interview is when Bill's bragging about how he reduced the number of bytes for the loader that Paul had built Smiley

  • Odi KosmatosOdi Incredible WPF and Silverlight datagrids
    This is awesome, thanks -- can't wait for the next episode.
  • It's really awesome! Rare Videos! I'm very excited for next espisodes.

    Congratulations!
  • ZippyVZippyV Fired Up
    Tina's head looks stretched out.
  • I was thinking the same thing.  Looks like the aspect ratio on the 16:9 clips got streched out to a 4:3 ratio.
  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    Really great to see the Bill footage. Right on, Tina! Thank you for providing this glimpse into Microsoft history (one that you won't find anywhere else).

    Looking forward to the next episode.

    Historically,
    C
  • rhmrhm
    Yeh, Bill Gates geeking it up, love it!
  • For those interested in a more in-depth history from Bill himself, check out the book he wrote in the 90s titled "The Road Ahead."  It's an enjoyable read, even today.
  • mejamie Niner since 2004
    that was great!
  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    Wow!!! Jamie watching videos on Channel 9?!?!? Incredible Smiley
    C
  • Sorry, couldn't tell you......... [EDITED by Charles: Don't go there.]
  • You can't handle my nameKoogle I'm a Terminator - Astalavista, Vis7a!
    "My favorite part of the interview is when Bill's bragging about how he reduced the number of bytes for the loader that Paul had built"  lol..yeah that bit with Bill bringing that up made my chuckle too Big Smile 
  • Elmerelmer I'm on my very last life.
    I guess the big challenge will be when you reach 88-89(ish) and have to try and find footage, any footage, of Cutler...
  • That was great, even though it was in the wrong aspect ratio Wink
  • awesome!
  • Thanks for supporting this show everyone.  There is lots of great footage like we see in 1975 in the years to come.  It's really pretty amazing when you sit back and listen to Billg talk about how it all came together.  It's good to be a part of the channel 9 community.  Is there an initiation or anything?  Nevermind.  That scares me. 


    tina

  • Really awesome.
    Can't wait to see the rest.
    If you haven't already seen it, watch "Triumph of the nerds" and "Nerds 2.0.1" from Robert X Cringely. They are great documentaries about the birth of modern computing and the Internet.
  • BasBas It finds lightbulbs.
    That was neat, looking forward to more! Keep the aspect ratio's in mind, though.
  • Josejlcard Jose

    man that's awesome, I like when Bill mention that the first bootstraper was 46 bytes and then later he wrote one on 17 bytes.
    Can you imagine sitting in your office facinated with this computer and flipping switches all day long? we have come a very LONG way, I am sure people would be making fun of us in 100 year from now for having desktops with only 2 and 4 cores. Smiley

  • If you are interested in Microsoft History, "Hard Drive" was a good read too.
  • Christian Liensbergerlittleguru <3 Seattle
    Great video, great idea... can't wait to see more Smiley
  • HarlequinHarlequin http:/​/​twitter.​com/True​Harlequin
    Is there a download version? Stream is just bad for me...
  • 9swords9swords @9swords
    Wow it's really great to see that this all started the year i was born.
    Going from holes punched into cardboard to enter instructions into the computer, all the way up to Microsoft Windows 7 technology.
    Congrats Microsoft.
  • icelavaicelava Awake 24x7
    "My favorite part of the interview is when Bill's bragging about how he reduced the number of bytes for the loader that Paul had built"

    Mine's smaller than yours.

    Wait, that didn't sound right....
  • Awesome, thank you Tina to share this.  The most amazing thing I like that Bill & Paul invent Basic in one month or less! I liked that bill is still having that Altair 8800 also I like when Bill enhanced the loader and reduce the number of bytes for  the loader lol.

  • This footage is awesome, It's so cool seeing the first version of BASIC
    It's really awesome! Rare Videos! I'm very excited for next espisodes.

    Congratulations!
  • ali.a.oSyphex 86it
    yea i like such a man who build up his dream with great decreez, i love that man , microsoft isnt just a company its a whole world
    i wish i can work there......
  • I haven't seen programs on paper tape since my college years. Guess I just aged myself, didn't I?

  • I love this show, really nice to know the history of MS. But I want to download these vids, streaming is quite poor on my connection it takes ages, also anyone know what the title music is...quite nice!
  • Could the high quality WMV be reuploaded please? The current one is broken.

  • Sorry to be grumpy, but I'd much prefer a version targeted at programmers, without the instant-brainwipe background noise and with a presenter who looks and sounds like she'd code circles around me.  Just a thought.

  • I think I bought my 8K Microsoft Basic rom for th Rockwell Aim 65 in 1978. To me (in Europe) Microsoft already was an institute, an authority.  But Basic was Texas Instruments calculators and school (arrays and mathematics), Forth was HP reversed polish notation, electronics and fun.  I studied for weeks, but - just as with the 8K Monitor rom of the Aim 65 - I couldn't make the connection between the assembly opcode and what was going on functionally. It just went over my head. The 4 K Forth rom was easy: if you understood defining words (especially the Next-interpreter) you understood it all. Besides, most of Forth was written in Forth. 

     

    I think what killed Forth was that it was Open Source (the term then, slipped my mind). I wonder what would have happened if Bill had gone for Forth in those days. I think, we would have had totally different boundaries regarding opcode, operating systems, languages, applications etc, than we do today. A lot of what the CLR, managed code, .Net Framework and the like is meaning to us, would have been intrinsic in my view.  Anyway, Microsoft today is an ashtonishing feat, with a lot more to come probably.

  • It is very interesting to see the beginning of this now Empire of a company. I remember when I was a kid about 10 years old or so and got my first PC for Christmas. That system is ancient now but I still have pictures of it. It is truly interesting how far technology has come since the mid/early 80's.

  • Nice episode Big Smile waitiing for another one Wink

  • Private Placement MemorandumPrivate Placement Memorandum

    Good article....

  • EurocarEurocar

    Wow it's really great to see that this all started the year i was born. Going from holes punched into cardboard to enter instructions into the computer, all the way up to Microsoft Windows 7 technology. Congrats Microsoft.

  • white pages reverse lookupwhite pages reverse lookup

    Amazing his persistance. I don't think it was ever about the money.

  • Jules RiveraJules Rivera

    This is a great article. Quite informative.

  • DinaDina

    Nice video. It's nice to see how it all started.
     
     

  • The best success story in IT business !!
  • JoeJoe

    @Dan:Bang

  • KenTKenT

    Great piece of article , thank you for sharing this with us !

    rakeback

  • I &lt;3 Bill GatesI <3 Bill Gates

    @reborn8:I AGREE THIS IS AWESOMEE!!!!!!

  • Jintu SuJintu Su

    i hope i can start a nice histry like this! Gates bless me PLS!

  • Great idea for a series of videos, look forward to seeing all of them.

  • PattiPatti

    And to think when I went to college, they were still handing out handwritten receipts for our tuition payments.  Long ago...
     

  • TommyTommy

    [quote]
    Feb 05, 2009 at 9:16 AM, Dan wrote
    This footage is awesome, It's so cool seeing the first version of BASIC My favorite part of the interview is when Bill's bragging about how he reduced the number of bytes for the loader that Paul had built
    [/quote]
    You have to understand that in the early days of micro computers every byte counted.  The was limited memory and limited space for storage.

  • KlauKlau

    Great hystori of Microsoft. Bill Gates change the world. This video is very god. This is a great article. I also working in software industry, I am programmer. Congratulations from Romania!!!

  • bikash prbikash pr

    great...... histori of Microsoft and now the next name of technology has become d Bill Gates.............

  • Infrared Home DiagnosisInfrared Home Diagnosis

    Great post Tina, really interesting stuff!

    Looking forward to your next post

  • salvador corssalvador cors

    amazing, awesome, a leyend.....

  • Legend !

  • Galecio Mary Ann SeptoGalecio Mary Ann Septo

    it is my turn its my wold Back almost 1 imcrying for my experience here all on website.im doing my talent with out paying.so what can i do?.

  • Galecio Mary Ann SeptoGalecio Mary Ann Septo

    it is my turn its my wold Back almost 1 imcrying for my experience here all on website.im doing my talent with out paying.so what can i do?.

  • ali mohammadiali mohammadi

    it's very good videos
    i love bill

  • akbar shaakbar sha

    Wow.. nice.. its really intresting...

  • rabecarabeca

    i wana now more

  • Wow! A nice history we should study.

  • amuelamuel

    This page is super helpful for my projet and the movie rocks.

  • dasddasd

    gsdgsgsgsg

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