Microsoft Windows version 1.0 was released on this date (November 20) in 1985. Bill Gates and Paul Allen had developed an operating system that they called “MS-DOS,” which stood for Microsoft Disk Operating System. It shipped in IBM computers beginning in 1981. But it wasn’t intuitive; users had to memorize a string of commands and get comfortable with the “backslash” key, something most people had never taken any notice of. Microsoft designers began working on a more user-friendly operating system, code name Interface Manager, the following year, and by 1983, they announced that “Windows” was in development. People were skeptical, calling it “vaporware.” Two years later, the first Windows-equipped computers shipped. The original press release promises that “Windows lets users integrate the tasks they perform with their computer by providing the ability to work with several programs at the same time and easily switch between them without having to quit and restart individual applications. In addition, it provides a rich foundation for a new generation of applications.” From The Writer’s Almanac
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