Today is a special day in the world of technology. It was ten years ago today that Microsoft released Windows 95 to the world, and what a launch it was, as Joe Wilcox remembers:
Windows 95 was an event. People lined up for blocks outside computer stores (like Egghead) at midnight to get their copy of Microsoft’s newest operating system. Rolling Stones’ song “Start Me Up” set the tone for the launch (Colleague David Card reminded that the band is on tour again. What timing!).
Funny that at the time, Bill Gates hadn’t yet issued his infamous “we get the Internet” memo. Many of the large companies we interact with on a daily basis were still in basements and garages in 1995, like eBay and Amazon. And who could have forseen the incredible path Microsoft and Windows would take following the release, sometimes bumpy, others smooth.
Some interesting things to note about Windows 95:
- There were actually five different versions of Windows 95 released. One release added USB support, another added IE 4.0, for example.
- The codename for Windows 95 was “Chicago”.
- Windows 95 was billed as a 32-bit operating system, but portions of the code remained 16-bit.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Windows 95 is that it remains, essentially, the interface for computing today. Windows XP is far superior, but the look hasn’t really changed that much, nor the way you interact with the operating system. I mean, lots of things have been improved and simplified, but at the end of the day, you still click Start, switch applications on the task bar, look for files in Explorer, etc. Let’s hope Windows Vista makes some progress in those departments!
Read: Microsoft Monitor