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Microsoft through the years
Jan. 1: The MITS Altair 8800, the first mass-marketed personal computer, appears on the cover of Popular Electronics. Paul Allen and Bill Gates are inspired to develop a BASIC language for the Altair.
Nov. 26: The trade name "Microsoft" is registered in New Mexico.
Dec. 31: Microsoft's year-end sales exceed $1 million.
Jan. 1: Microsoft moves from Albuquerque, N.M., to Bellevue.
Aug. 12: IBM introduces its personal computer with Microsoft's 16-bit operating system, MS-DOS 1.0.
Sept. 29: Microsoft introduces Word for MS-DOS 1.0.
Feb. 26: Microsoft moves corporate campus in Redmond.
March 13: The company's stock goes public.
Aug. 1: Microsoft introduces earliest version of Office suite of productivity applications.
May 22: Microsoft launches Windows 3.0.
July 15: Kicking off its 15th-anniversary celebration, Microsoft becomes the first personal-computer software company to exceed $1 billion in annual sales, with revenue of $1.8 billion.
Jan. 1: Gates marries Melinda French.
Aug. 24: Microsoft launches Windows 95.
Dec. 7: Gates outlines Microsoft's commitment to supporting and enhancing the Internet.
June 23: Gates and his wife, Melinda French Gates, announce the formation of the Gates Library Foundation.
May 18: Government files antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft.
June 25: Microsoft launches Windows 98.
Oct. 19: Landmark antitrust trial begins.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is created with the merger of the Gates Learning Foundation, originally called the Gates Library Foundation, and the William H. Gates Foundation, founded by Bill's father.
Jan. 13: Gates creates a new role for himself — chairman and chief software architect — passing CEO role to Steve Ballmer.
Feb. 17: Microsoft launches Windows 2000.
June 22: Gates and Ballmer outline Microsoft's .NET strategy for Web services.
Oct. 25: Microsoft launches Windows XP.
Nov. 15: Microsoft launches Xbox.
Nov. 1: U.S. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issues her final judgment conditionally approving government's antitrust settlement.
March 7: Microsoft pays first dividend.
April 24: The company Microsoft launches Windows Server 2003.
Oct. 21: Microsoft launches Microsoft Office System.
April 2: Microsoft reaches antitrust truce with Sun Microsystems, agreeing to pay its Silicon Valley rival nearly $2 billion.
May 28: Microsoft begins building campus in Hyderabad, India.
July 20: Microsoft announces plans to return up to $75 billion to shareholders in dividends and stock buybacks.
April 11: Microsoft settles Gateway antitrust lawsuit for $150 million.
May 10: Microsoft releases Windows Mobile 5.0.
Oct. 11: Microsoft agrees to support RealNetworks' digital-music and games businesses and give the Seattle company $761 million to settle 2003 antitrust case.
Nov. 22: Xbox 360 launches in North America.
Feb. 9: Microsoft details plans to spend $1 billion to expand campus near Lake Sammamish.
March 9: Microsoft unveils "Origami Project," a new category of handheld computer.
March 21: Microsoft announces delay of the broad release of its Windows Vista operating system until January 2007.
April 18: Chinese President Hu Jintao visits Microsoft campus and dines at Gates' Medina home residence in Medina.
April 28: Microsoft's stock takes its biggest one-day fall in more than five years, plunging $32 billion, after company announces plans to invest more in its businesses at the expense of higher short-term profits.
May 3: Microsoft announces research-and-development spending in the company's MSN online division will reach a projected $1.1 billion starting July 1.
May 18: Microsoft changes employee reviews and institutes new perks to make working at Microsoft more attractive.
June 15: Gates announces that he will leave Microsoft in July 2008 to work full time at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company