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The History of Microsoft - 1986

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For Microsoft, 1986 brings a slice or royalty as Prince Charles of Great Britain pays a visit to the Microsoft Showroom at the Infomart in Dallas, we move to a new Corporate Campus and our stock goes public at $21 per share. 


Previous Episodes:

The History of Microsoft - 1975
The History of Microsoft - 1976
The History of Microsoft - 1977
The History of Microsoft - 1978
The History of Microsoft - 1979
The History of Microsoft - 1980
The History of Microsoft - 1981
The History of Microsoft - 1982
The History of Microsoft - 1983
The History of Microsoft - 1984
The History of Microsoft - 1985 


1986 Revenue/Headcount

The 1986 fiscal year-end sales total $197,514,000. The 1986 fiscal Year employee headcount totals 1,153 people.


Official Subsidiaries Launched:
Microsoft Corporation, Limited (Japan), Microsoft International, B.V. (Holland)


Sales Office Opened:
Microsoft de Mexico


January 17, 1986

A survey of lunchroom consumption figures for July through October 1985 reveals that Diet Coke topped the employee popularity list.


January 30, 1986

Microsoft and Santa Cruz Operation announce new agreements and joint marketing plans concerning Microsoft Networks for XENIX. SCO will be the prime distributor of XENIX System V to the VAR (Value Added Retailer) and VAD (Value added Dealer) channels, and will also distribute all of Microsoft's language products for XENIX including BASIC, PASCAL, FORTRAN, and COBOL.


February 18, 1986

His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Great Britain visits the Microsoft Showroom at the Infomart in Dallas. He compliments Jerry Ruttenbur, Vice President of Retail, and Shelley Jones on the color and graphics of the Microsoft® Windows® demonstration given to him by Jan Josephs.


February 26, 1986

Microsoft moves to its new Corporate Campus, buildings 1 through 4, in Redmond, Washington.


March 13, 1986

Microsoft stock goes public at $21 per share, rising to $28 per share by the end of the first trading day. The initial public offering raises $61 million.


April 22, 1986

Direct shipment of software to the Republic of South Africa is stopped, and the relationship with the local distributor has been terminated due to the South African government's policy of apartheid. Previously, support for anti-apartheid activities had been demonstrated by the donation of all profits earned from South Africa software sales to the American Friends Service Committee.


May 9, 1986

Microsoft® Press releases "Windows: The Official Guide to Microsoft's Operating Environment," by Nancy Andrews. This is the first book available on this operating environment and is a complete introduction to the basic operations of the Microsoft Windows® environment, the seven Windows desktop applications, and using Windows Write and Windows Paint.


July 3, 1986

IBM has recently announced the PC Convertible, which uses 3.5-inch disks. Consequently, all applications software that runs on Microsoft® MS-DOS®, programming languages, hardware, and Microsoft Windows® products will be made available on 3.5-inch disks. The disks will be provided free to dealers, distributors, and customers who request them.


July 9, 1986

Microsoft announces Microsoft MACH 10, an add-on board which makes Microsoft Windows run up to 2-1/2 times faster on an IBM PC, PC XT, or Portable PC.


July 21, 1986

Bill Gates makes the cover of FORTUNE magazine for the first time and is featured in an eight-page article entitled "The Deal That Made Bill Gates, Age 30, $350 Million: The Inside Story of Microsoft's Stock Issue."


August 20, 1986

Microsoft begins shipping Excel, Word, File, Multiplan, and Chart for the Macintosh on 800K, double-sided disks.


September 5, 1986

Steve Ballmer completes the first “translakebillg” swim after losing a challenge to the MS-DOS 5 team to complete their bug fixes by Sept. 1.


September 17, 1986

Microsoft announces the availability of extensions to MS-DOS that support the use of CD-ROM disk drives with personal computers. These extensions allow any computer that runs MS-DOS 3.1 or 3.2 and has a CD-ROM drive to read data from any CD-ROM disk formatted in the recently issued High Sierra CD-ROM file format. Microsoft will license these extensions directly to CD-ROM drive manufacturers and they are available only on an OEM basis.


October 2, 1986

Microsoft Works for the Macintosh ships.


October 10, 1986

The Microsoft Systems Journal magazine makes its debut this week. Targeted toward software developers, the magazine will carry articles on present and future versions of the Microsoft® MS-DOS® and Microsoft XENIX® operating systems, Microsoft Windows®, languages, and networking. The first issue is devoted exclusively to Windows.


October 22, 1986

Aldus, Hewlett-Packard, and Microsoft form a desktop publishing alliance to market their products as a complete desktop publishing solution. Microsoft will provide Windows and Word. Together, the companies plan to spend more than $2 million on marketing activities aimed at promoting the cooperative solution.


Notable New Hires:
Nathan Myhrvold, David Vaskevitch, Darryl Rubin, Richard Fade, William H. Neukom


Other Products shipped in 1986:
Microsoft BASIC Interpreter v3.0 and BASIC Compiler for the Macintosh, FORTRAN Compiler 2.20 for the Mac, Excel 1.03 for the Mac, Mouse 6.0, Microsoft Word 3.10, Word for Networks 3.0, Microsoft Project 3.0, Windows 1.03, Microsoft Learning DOS (interactive CBT), XENIX V/386 OS and Toolkit, C Compiler 4.0, QuickBasic 2.0, Microsoft File 1.02, GW-Basic 3.2, Flight Simulator 1.0 for Mac, Microsoft Access 1.01 (this is not the database product, this was a business communications product), LISP 5.01, Microsoft Networks for XENIX System V/286, Word 3.0 for Mac, Multiplan 3.0, Project 2.0, Multiplan 1.1 for Mac,


In the world:

§   Shuttle:  The Space Shuttle Challenger explodes on take-off, killing all seven crew members.

§   King: Martin Luther King Day is celebrated as a federal holiday for the first time.

§   Electronics:  Sony introduces the CD-ROM.

§   Meltdown: The Chernobyl nuclear plant suffers a catastrophic explosion, fire and meltdown, contaminating large areas of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, and spreading a plume of radioactive particles across much of Northern Europe.

§   Philippines: President Ferdinand Marcos is ousted after 20 years, replaced by Carazon Aquino.

§   TV: The Cosby Show, Family Ties, and Murder She Wrote are among the top television programs. Designing Women, L.A. Law, and ALF premiere.

§   Centennial: The Statue of Liberty celebrates its 100th anniversary, reopening to the public after extensive renovations.

§   Games: The Legend of Zelda premieres on the Nintendo videogame system.

§   Iran-Contra: The Iran-Contra scandal breaks as it is revealed that the Reagan Administration has been illegally selling arms to Iran and funneling the profits to anti-Communist Contras fighting the left-wing Sandinista government of Nicaragua.

§   Comet: Halley’s Comet returns for another near-Earth appearance.

§   Libya: US planes bomb Tripoli and Benghazi in response to the bombing of a Berlin disco frequented by US soldiers.

§   Marriage: Prince Andrew, Duke of York marries Sarah Ferguson.

§   Austria: Former UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim is elected president of Austria, despite allegations that he was involved in Nazi atrocities during World War II.

§   Expo: The Expo ’86 World’s Fair is held in Vancouver, B.C.

§   Clint: Clint Eastwood is elected mayor of Carmel, California.

§   Baseball: The New York Mets defeat the Boston Red Sox in the World Series 4-3, thanks in part to Bill Buckner’s error on a ground ball to first.

§   Movies: Top grossing movies of the year include Top Gun, Crocodile Dundee, Aliens, and Star Trek IV. Platoon nets Oscars for Best Movie and Best Director (Oliver Stone). Best Actor is Paul Newman in The Color of Money and Best Actress is Marlee Matlin in Children of a Lesser God.

§   Compaq Computer Corp. makes the Fortune 500 faster than any company ever and introduces the DESKPRO 386.

§   Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh Plus and LaserWriter Plus.

§   Teddy Ruxpin, a talking bear with a built-in microchip, brings computer technology to preschool.

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