Today is a significant day in the history of personal computing. 30 years ago Microsoft Windows 1.0 was launched, bringing with it the first widely available GUI (Graphical User Interface) instead of command line functions. While we can all debate the Microsoft of today and their business practices of the past, there is no denying the significance of Windows 1.0. It, in every way, revolutionized how we interacted with computers and opened the door for billions to learn and easily use PCs in their homes.
Essentially Windows 1.0 was a 16-bit multi-tasking shell that ran on top of MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) that was a mouse driven GUI. To put it into perspective of how far we have come in 30 years, your Android phone sitting next to you is very likely running a 64-bit architecture – never mind your PC! By today’s comparisons, it was not exactly a beautiful user interface but it was revolutionary for the time.
Now what would early days Microsoft be without Steve Ballmer? And everyone enjoys a good launch video for an app right? Feast your eyes on this gem!
Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy doesn’t it?
Mixed Reviews on Microsoft Windows 1.0
Interestingly, the review of Windows 1.0 were mixed at the time of its release. Many critics felt that the multi-tasking aspect of the GUI was too limited while others focused on the fact that the GUI was heavily mouse driven. It is important to remember that the mouse was not widely used or owned by consumers like it is today (and they were bloody expensive) so the criticism was, to a point,
Ultimately Windows 1.0 was a limited success as was v2.0 a couple of years later. Microsoft really hit its stride with Windows however with the 3.0 release which was the point at which PCs become widely available at far lower prices. The rest, as we know, is history.