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Early History of Microsoft Corporation

Today, Microsoft Corporation finds itself embroiled in antitrust lawsuits and actions by the federal government which threaten to force the company to divest some of its interests much as AT&T was forced into breaking up in the mid-1980s. Microsoft's operating system controls the largest share of personal computers in the world, and one of its founders, Bill Gates, is recognized as being either the wealthiest, or among the wealthiest individuals on earth. Yet the company, which is not even 30 years old, had humble beginnings. Gates lacks a college degree but has built the Microsoft empire using strategic marketing techniques, careful product positioning, and by reshaping the way that companies conduct business. While some have accused the company of "strong-arm" techniques in the marketplace, others have marveled at the way the company emerged from the chaos of the early microcomputer days to dominate the market in a way few other companies have done. This research examines the early years of Microsoft and suggests that the company's current strategies are born of the company's earliest corporate activities.

Paul Allen and Bill Gates began their business careers not with Microsoft, but with a company called Trafo-data formed during high school (Gates, 1996, p. 32). Trafo-data used an Intel 8008 chip (which cost $360) to build a system that monitored traffic patterns using a rubber hose stretched across a roadway. Although the system worked well, Gates and Allen encountered age discrimination as city engineers were reluctant to enter into business arrangements with 16-year old technocrats. Nonetheless, Allen and Gates enjoyed small success from this venture and identified the Intel microprocessor as a product which would eventually find a market, particularly since advances were being made rapidly in that field (Strehlo, 1984, p. 65).

In January 1975, Gates saw a cover story in Popular Electronics about the MITS Altair, a ...

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Early History of Microsoft Corporation. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 08:53, November 29, 2021, from