It’s the 1970s. At work, we rely on typewriters. If we need to copy a document, we likely use a mimeograph or carbon paper. Few have heard of microcomputers, but two young computer enthusiasts, Bill Gates and Paul Allen, see that personal computing is a path to the future.
In 1975, Gates and Allen form a partnership called Microsoft. Like most start-ups, Microsoft begins small, but has a huge vision—a computer on every desktop and in every home. During the next years, Microsoft begins to change the ways we work.
The dawn of MS-DOS
In June 1980, Gates and Allen hire Gates’ former Harvard classmate Steve Ballmer to help run the company. The next month, IBM approaches Microsoft about a project code-named "Chess." In response, Microsoft focuses on a new operating system—the software that manages, or runs, the computer hardware and also serves to bridge the gap between the computer hardware and programs, such as a word processor. It’s the foundation on which computer programs can run. They name their new operating system "MS-DOS."
When the IBM PC running MS-DOS ships in 1981, it introduces a whole new language to the general public. Typing “C:” and various cryptic commands gradually becomes part of daily work. People discover the backslash (\) key.
MS-DOS is effective, but also proves difficult to understand for many people. There has to be a better way to build an operating system.
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