The History of Microsoft - 1975

Download this episode

Download Video

Description

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.


Embed

Format

Available formats for this video:

Actual format may change based on video formats available and browser capability.

    The Discussion

    • User profile image
      Dan

      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

    • User profile image
      Odi
      This is awesome, thanks -- can't wait for the next episode.
    • User profile image
      Diego Pinheiro
      It's really awesome! Rare Videos! I'm very excited for next espisodes.

      Congratulations!
    • User profile image
      ZippyV
      Tina's head looks stretched out.
    • User profile image
      pixelstuff
      I was thinking the same thing.  Looks like the aspect ratio on the 16:9 clips got streched out to a 4:3 ratio.
    • User profile image
      Charles
      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
    • User profile image
      rhm
      Yeh, Bill Gates geeking it up, love it!
    • User profile image
      spivonious
      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.
    • User profile image
      jamie
      that was great!
    • User profile image
      Charles
      Wow!!! Jamie watching videos on Channel 9?!?!? Incredible Smiley
      C
    • User profile image
      ItemsSource
      Sorry, couldn't tell you......... [EDITED by Charles: Don't go there.]
    • User profile image
      Koogle
      "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 
    • User profile image
      elmer
      I guess the big challenge will be when you reach 88-89(ish) and have to try and find footage, any footage, of Cutler...
    • User profile image
      dentaku
      That was great, even though it was in the wrong aspect ratio Wink
    • User profile image
      Ion Todirel
      awesome!
    • User profile image
      tina10

      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

    • User profile image
      cycnus
      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.
    • User profile image
      Bas
      That was neat, looking forward to more! Keep the aspect ratio's in mind, though.
    • User profile image
      jlcard

      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

    • User profile image
      joelcochran
      If you are interested in Microsoft History, "Hard Drive" was a good read too.
    • User profile image
      littleguru
      Great video, great idea... can't wait to see more Smiley
    • User profile image
      Harlequin
      Is there a download version? Stream is just bad for me...
    • User profile image
      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.
    • User profile image
      icelava
      "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....
    • User profile image
      Firas Ammouri

      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.

    • User profile image
      Debeshlohani
      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!
    • User profile image
      Syphex
      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......
    • User profile image
      broiled
      I haven't seen programs on paper tape since my college years. Guess I just aged myself, didn't I?

    • User profile image
      nikrusty
      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!
    • User profile image
      Arkatta

      Could the high quality WMV be reuploaded please? The current one is broken.

    • User profile image
      reinpost

      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.

    • User profile image
      RobK

      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.

    • User profile image
      reborn8

      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.

    • User profile image
      okna in vrata

      Nice episode Big Smile waitiing for another one Wink

    • User profile image
      Private Placement Memorandum

      Good article....

    • User profile image
      Eurocar

      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.

    • User profile image
      white pages reverse lookup

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

    • User profile image
      Jules Rivera

      This is a great article. Quite informative.

    • User profile image
      Dina

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

    • User profile image
      JohnWil
      The best success story in IT business !!
    • User profile image
      Joe

      @Dan:Bang

    • User profile image
      KenT

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

      rakeback

    • User profile image
      I <3 Bill Gates

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

    • User profile image
      Jintu Su

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

    • User profile image
      Mintydog

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

    • User profile image
      Patti

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

    • User profile image
      Tommy

      [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.

    • User profile image
      Klau

      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!!!

    • User profile image
      bikash pr

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

    • User profile image
      Infrared Home Diagnosis

      Great post Tina, really interesting stuff!

      Looking forward to your next post

    • User profile image
      salvador cors

      amazing, awesome, a leyend.....

    • User profile image
      Liuganning

      Legend !

    • User profile image
      Galecio 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?.

    • User profile image
      Galecio 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?.

    • User profile image
      ali mohammadi

      it's very good videos
      i love bill

    • User profile image
      akbar sha

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

    • User profile image
      rabeca

      i wana now more

    • User profile image
      FSuarez

      Wow! A nice history we should study.

    • User profile image
      amuel

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

    • User profile image
      dasd

      gsdgsgsgsg

    Comments closed

    Comments have been closed since this content was published more than 30 days ago, but if you'd like to continue the conversation, please create a new thread in our Forums, or Contact Us and let us know.