August 1980:

QDOS 0.10 (Quick and Dirty Operating System) released by Seattle Computer.


The Xerox Star 8010 is unveiled. It costs $16,000 and includes a mouse and a graphical user interface.

July 1981: Microsoft buys all rights to DOS from Seattle Computer - names it MS-DOS.


Intel introduces the 286.

March 1982: Microsoft releases MS-DOS 1.25


Internet Activities Board (IAB) created.

1983: Domain Name System (DNS) created at the University of Wisconsin.

February 1983: MS-DOS 2.0 released.


The term "cyberspace" is coined in William Gibson's Neuromancer.


Intel introduces the 386.

November 1985: Microsoft Windows 1.01 is released.


The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) created.

August 1986: Microsoft Windows 1.03 released. Support added for MS-DOS 3.2.

April 1987:

Microsoft Windows 1.04 released. Support added for IBM PS/2.

November 1987: Microsoft Windows 2.02 released.


Self-replicating bug shuts down the Internet.

April 1988: Microsoft Windows/286 and Windows/386 version 2.10 released. Optimized for Intel 286.

October, 1988: David Cutler, recently acquired from DEC along with other developers, begins work on NT in building 2 at Microsoft.

November, 1988: Microsoft formally announces that Cutler and other Digital employees have been hired to work on an advanced version of OS/2.

March 1989:

Microsoft Windows/286 and Windows/386 version 2.11 released.

June, 1989: A team lead by Chuck Whitmer begins work on NT's graphics. Initially, the team tried to write the code in C++, but later moved some of it to C for performance reasons.

July, 1989: The first chunks of NT are run on a system built by the NT development team based on the Intel i860 processor.

October, 1989: The first estimate of when NT will ship given as March 1991 (this prediction was 2.5 years off).

1989: Intel introduces the 486 Processor.


February: Windows NT development team is formed.

February 23: Paul Mauritz challenges the development team to have 4 applications (OS/2 Presentation Manager applications) running in time for Fall Comdex.

May: Windows 3.0 released.

May 30: Bill Gates criticizes the Windows NT development team for making NT "too big and too slow."

August: Decision is made to switch from OS/2 NT to Windows NT - a different interface and API. Plans begin for the move to Windows.

December 17: Meeting at Microsoft with developers and other third-parties to review Win32 API.


January: Microsoft and IBM have a falling out, after it is learned that Microsoft is focusing on Windows NT development over OS/2.

May: The first DOS application is run on Windows NT (pre-release) - Reversi.

June: Microsoft Word is run on Windows NT (pre-release).

October: Windows 3.0a released (maintenance release).

October: Microsoft displays Windows NT at Comdex.


April: Windows 3.1 released.

July: Windows NT is demonstrated at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in San Francisco.

October: Windows for Workgroups 3.1 released.

October 12: Beta 1 of Windows NT 3.1 ships.

November: Win32 Software Development Kit is released.

Date Unknown: World Wide Web released by CERN.


March 8: Windows NT 3.1 Beta 2 ships.

June 9: Final Beta of Windows NT 3.1 ships.

July 26: Windows NT 3.1 released to manufacturing.

August: Windows NT 3.1 - the first version of NT - is released. Lines of code: 6 million.

October: Service Pack 1 for Windows NT 3.1 released.

December: Windows 3.11 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11 released.

December: Motorola and Microsoft announce they will begin developing Windows NT for the PowerPC platform.

December: Microsoft announces that it has shipped 300,000 copies of NT in 1993.

December 21: SNA Server 2.0 released.

Date Unknown: Intel introduces the Pentium processor.


March: Win32s for Windows 3.1 released - enables running NT 32-bit apps.

April: MS-DOS 6.22 released.

August: 32-bit version of Office (Word & Excel) for NT ships.

September 6: Windows NT 3.5 is released. First upgrade to NT weighing in at 9 million lines of code.

October: DEC demonstrates clustering solutions for Windows NT.

October 6: SNA Server 2.1 released.

December 16: Windows NT 3.5 Resource Kit released.


February: Windows NT 3.51 Beta released.

February: PowerPC's ship with Windows NT.

April: Microsoft announces that installed Windows NT systems surpass 1 million.

May 30: Windows NT 3.51 released.

June 14: SQL Server 6.0 released.

June 28: SNA Server 2.11 released.

July 25: SMS 1.1 released.

August: Windows 95 released.

August: Microsoft Mail Server 3.5 released.

October: Microsoft announces that installed Windows NT base surpassed 2 million.

December: Microsoft announces that Windows NT Server shipped 393,000 copies.

Date Unknown: Intel introduces the Pentium Pro processor.

Date Unknown: Earthlink offers first "unlimited" internet service for $19.95 per month.

Date Unknown: Netscape IPO - 3rd largest in Nasdaq history.


January: Windows NT 4.0 Beta 1 released.

February: Windows 95 Service Pack 1 released.

February: Microsoft announces that the installed base for Windows NT is over 4 million.

February 1: IIS 1.0 released.

March: Windows NT 4.0 Beta 2 released.

April 8: SQL Server 6.5 released.

April 25: Microsoft BackOffice Server 2.0 released.

May 13: Exchange Server 1.0 released.

July 29: Windows NT 4.0 released to manufacturing.

July 29: SMS 1.2 released.

August: Windows NT 4.0 released. Final code count: 16 million lines.

September: Windows 95 OSR2 released.

October 16: Microsoft drops NT support for MIPS architecture.

October 20: SNA Server 3.0 released.

October 23: Merchant Server 1.0 released.

October 28: Index Server 1.1 released.

December: Microsoft announces that 732,000 copies of NT Server 4.0 sold in 1996


January 3: Microsoft released Wolfpack beta (clustering software for NT).

January 3: Exchange Server 5.0 final beta released.

January 6: "Memphis" (Windows 97?) enters testing with "Developers Release."

January 13: Microsoft releases Service Pack 2 for NT 4.

January 19: Office 97 Ships.

February: Intel releases 233 MHz Pentium Pro.

February 5: Information and Interactive Services Report says 18 million people were using the Internet by the end of 1996.

February 7: Microsoft quits developing NT for the PowerPC.

February 17: Exchange Server 5.0 released.

February 24: Microsoft released IE 4.0.

March 25: IE 3.02 released.

April 25: Wolfpack Beta 2 released.

April 28: NetMeeting 2.0 ships.

April 29: Business Week reports that 40 million people are "surfin the 'Net.

May 5: Pentium II floating point error reported.

May 12: Microsoft announces that it is developing thin client support for Windows NT with the help of Citrix Systems, Inc.

June 27: Microsoft releases Beta of Internet Information Server 4.0.

July: Site Server 2.0 ships.

July 14: Microsoft releases Beta of Proxy Server 2.0.

August 4: DirectX 5.0 ships.

August 6: Microsoft releases Office 97 Service Release 1.

September: Microsoft unveils Beta 1 of Windows NT 5.0 at the Professional Developers Conference.

September 16: Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition released to manufacturing.

October: Windows NT 4.0, Enterprise Version ships.

October 3: IE 4.0 released - 1 million downloads reported in first 24 hours.

October 8: Proxy Server 2.0 ships.

October 14: Windows CE 2.0 ships.

October 22: Small Business Server ships.

November 5: NetMeeting 2.1 released.

November 17: Exchange Server 5.5 is released.

November 17: Windows NT 4.0 Workstation sales hit 11 million.

November 21: Beta 1 of "Hydra" (Terminal Services for NT 4) released.

December 1: SNA Server 4.0 is released.

December 2: IE 4.01 released.

December 2: Windows NT Server 4.0 Option Pack is released.

December 9: Microsoft BackOffice Server 4.0 is released.

December 11: Service Pack 3 for SMS 1.2 released.

December 15: Beta 2 of Windows 98 released.

December 19: Service Pack 4 for SQL Server 6.5 released.

December: Microsoft announces it has shipped 1.3 million copies of NT Server.

Date Unknown: Intel introduces the Pentium II processor.


January 13: Beta 1 of SQL Server 7.0 is released.

January 26: Compaq buys Digital Equipment Company (maker of the Alpha RISC-based processor). This is the largest merger to date in the computing industry, and creates the worlds largest Windows NT solution provider.

February: Bill Gates is attacked in Brussels by two men wielding custard pies. A Belgian court would eventually fine the men 3,000 Belgian Francs (about USD $88).

February: Intel releases the 333MHz Processor.

March: Microsoft ships BackOffice 4.0, including IIS 4.0.

March: First DVD drives are available.

March 31: Microsoft releases an interim Beta of Windows NT 5.0 at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in Orlando. This release is after Beta 1, but before the official Beta 2, and is dubbed the "Interim Developers Release."

April: Microsoft backs off on its threat not to support NT servers running Novell's NDS for NT.

April 27: Microsoft Site Server 3.0 is released.

May: Hackers crash dozens of NT server systems in the US through an orchestrated DoS attack. Microsoft had released a fix in January that would have prevented the problem.1

June: Windows 98 released.

June 15: Microsoft licenses VenturCom's Component Integrator Technology for helping deploy NT-based embedded solutions.

June 17: 15 Million copies of NT 4.0 have been sold -- and counting.

June: Microsoft announces that Exchange Server client license sales surpassed Lotus Notes licenses-3.05 million seats to 2.7 million seats-during the first quarter of 1998.1

August: Bell Atlantic announced plans to offer Internet access via traditional copper lines with ADSL technology.

August: Microsoft releases Beta 2 of Windows NT 5.0..

September: Microsoft pays SyNet (a defunct ISP in Illinois) $5 Million for the trademarked "Internet Explorer" name.

November 16: Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 released at Fall Comdex in Las Vegas.

December 12: Microsoft changes the name of Windows NT 5.0 to Windows 2000.

Date Unknown: Intel introduces Pentium II Xeon processor.


January 11: Microsoft releases Beta 1 of Small Business Server 4.5.

January: Intel announces the Pentium III - which will ship with a unique processor serial number (PSN) that causes a stir in the privacy and security arenas.

January 12: Microsoft releases BackOffice Server 4.5.

January 20: Microsoft recovers 55,000 illegal counterfeit copies of Office 97 In Berkshire, England.2

February 3: Microsoft ships DirectX 6.1.

February 22: Microsoft releases Beta 1 of Windows NT 4.0 Embedded version.

February: Microsoft announces that it is reorganizing into four main groups: Consumer, Enterprise, Development, and Knowledge (Office).

March 3: Windows NT Workstation 4.0 sales reach 28 million.

March 18: Microsoft releases IE 5.0.

March 25: Microsoft releases Office 98 Macintosh Edition

March 29: Microsoft Office 2000 released to manufacturing.

March 30: Microsoft combines Site Builder Network and MSDN Online web sites and membership programs.

March: The British Army announces that the new GNK Westland WAH-64 Apache helicopter will run NT on networked Lynwood Pentium Pro systems.

March: Over a 12 day period, astronauts in the space shuttle Endeavor exchange about 600 messages with a Microsoft Exchange Server in Houston.1

April 29: Microsoft releases Beta 3 of Windows 2000.

April: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute begins to enlist volunteers to use their home PCs to run [email protected] software to help search for extraterrestrial life.

May 5: Windows 98 Second Edition released to manufacturing.

May 24: Microsoft releases Small Business Server 4.5.

June 3: Microsoft releases Active Directory Services Interfaces (ADSI) 2.5.

June 14: Microsoft unveils Commercial Internet System (MCIS) 2.5.

June 14: Melissa virus hits - first large-scale "worm" to take advantage of Outlook features.

July 7: Microsoft releases Release Candidate 1 (RC1) of Windows 2000.

July 21: Microsoft releases Intellimouse Explorer at MACWorld Expo in New York.

July 21: Microsoft releases MSN Messenger Service, free for download.

July 26: Microsoft delivers "Developer Preview" pre-beta version of Windows ME to small group of partners and beta testers.

August 9: Microsoft releases Windows NT Embedded 4.0.

August: Microsoft and the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, England, conducted an experiment to see if human beings can survive with nothing but a connected computer and a credit card. Four volunteers were locked in a room for five days, each armed with only a credit card with an $800 limit and a PC connected to the Internet.

September 1: Microsoft releases Cordless Mouse.

September 15: Announced that Microsoft will acquire Visio Corporation.

September 20: Microsoft announces new MCSE 2000 certification track.

September 21: eBook or Open eBook Publication Structure Specification finalized.

September 22: Microsoft Ships final release of DirectX 7.0.

September 29: Microsoft releases Beta 1 of Windows ME.

October 4: Microsoft releases Beta 3 of Exchange Server 2000.

December 15: Windows 2000 released to manufacturing.

Date Unknown: Intel introduces the Celeron processor.

Date Unknown: Intel introduces the Pentium III and Pentium III Xeon processors.


January 1: The world survives the rollover to 00.

January 5: Microsoft unveils IE 5 for the Mac at Macworld Expo in San Francisco.

January 14: US Federal Government relaxed encryption export law, allowing exportation of software using 128-bit encryption.

February 17: Windows 2000 is officially launched in Professional, Server, and Advanced Server versions.

February 22: Microsoft offers Release Candidate 1 of Exchange Server 2000, and also announces Exchange 2000 Conferencing Server.

March 2: Microsoft releases Windows-Based Terminal (WBT) Standard 1.5.

March 14: Over 1 million copies of Windows 2000 sold.

March 15: Microsoft announces IPv6 Technical Preview for Windows 2000.

March 27: Microsoft announces Windows Media Player 7.0.

April 3: Microsoft releases Windows Services for UNIX 2.0.

April 4: Microsoft releases Visio 2000, Service Release 1.

April 11: Microsoft begins availability of TechNet on DVD.

April 24: Microsoft releases Beta 2 of SQL Server 2000.

April 25: Microsoft Announces Windows CE 3.0 and New Development Tools At WinHEC 2000.

May 15: Microsoft unveils IE for Mac OS X

May 23: Microsoft releases Beta 2 of Windows 2000 Datacenter Server.

June 6: Public Beta for Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000 (ISA Server 2000) begins.

June 19: Windows Millennium Edition (Windows ME) released to Manufacturing.

June 20: SMS 2.0 Service Pack 2 released.

June 22: Microsoft announces "Windows .NET"

June 27: Windows 2000 sales hit 3 million.

June 28: Microsoft releases Beta of Commerce Server 2000.

June 28: Microsoft Releases Windows 2000 Terminal Services Advanced Client.

July 6: Windows Services for Netware version 5.0 (SFN5) released.

July 12: IE 5.5 released.

July 14: Small Business Server 2000 enters Beta 1.

July 17: Compaq becomes first systems manufacturer to be certified for Windows 2000 Datacenter Program for Windows 2000 Datacenter Server.

July 19: Microsoft Unveils Office 2001 for Mac.

July 20: MSN Messenger 3.0 released.

July 31: Service Pack 1 for Windows 2000 released.

August 2: Application Center 2000 enters Beta 2.

August 7: SQL Server 2000 released to manufacturing.

August 11: Microsoft Ships Windows 2000 Datacenter Server to Program Partners.

August 14: Microsoft announces Beta 1 of Biztalk Server 2000.

August 31: MSN announces Preview 2 of MSN Explorer (a competitor to IE?).

September 14: Windows ME available.

October 9: MSN Explorer browser released.

October 11: Exchange Server 2000 launches.

October 31: Beta 1 of "Whistler" (next version after Windows 2000) released.

November 2: Service Pack 1 for IE 5.5 released.

November 9: Microsoft releases DirectX version 8.0.

November 20: Intel introduces the Pentium IV processor.

December 12: BizTalk Server 2000 Released to Manufacturing.

December 15: Microsoft extends deadline for completing NT 4.0 exams through the end of February.

December 18: Microsoft Announces Release of "Whistler Embedded" Beta 1.

December 21: Microsoft to acquire Great Plains Software, Inc.


January 8: Microsoft announces SharePoint Portal Server (formerly Tahoe) Release Candidate 1.

January 24: A routing error in Microsoft's DNS servers renders most Microsoft sites unavailable for hours.

January 25: A Denial of Service (DoS) attack takes out Microsoft sites for hours.

February 5: Microsoft announces that the next versions of Windows and Office will be called Windows XP and Office XP.

February 7: Microsoft announces that Windows 2000 Server sales will surpass 1 million during the month of February.

February 12: Application Center 2000 released to manufacturing.

February 13: Microsoft announces a new name for the desktop version or Whistler: "Windows XP" Personal and Professional versions. This will be the first version of Windows for home and business both based on the same (NT/2000) code.

March 5: Office XP released to manufacturing.

March 26: Microsoft offers the Windows XP Preview program - download release candidates for $9.95

April 30: Microsoft announces a new name for the Server versions of Whistler: "Windows 2002."

May 16: Service Pack 2 for Windows 2000 released.

May 24: Gordon Moore (coined "Moore's Law") retires from Intel.

June 19: Microsoft changes its mind and its naming for the Server versions of Whistler. Bill Gates announces at TechEd that instead of Windows 2002, they will be called Windows .NET.

July 2: Microsoft announces availability of Release Candidate 1 of Windows XP - Build 2505.

July 28: Microsoft announces Release Candidate 2 of Windows XP - Build 2526.

August 24: Windows XP "released to manufacturing" - Build 2600.

October 25: Windows XP officially released - available on store shelves. It's available in Home and Professional versions, and is the successor to both the NT/2000 workstation line as well as the Windows 9x/ME product. It's based on the Windows 2000 code base.


January 2: Windows XP Sales exceed 17 million copies.

January 8: Windows Media Player for MacOS X released.

January 11: Windows Update site unavailable for several days.

January 15: Commerce Server 2002 Beta 1 released.

January 15: Microsoft released Visual Studio .NET.

January 30: Windows 2000 Security Rollup Package released (all patches since SP2).

February 2: Microsoft halts all new software development for one month requiring programmers to focus on fixing existing bugs.

February 4: BizTalk Server 2002 launched.