China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

Child­hood friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen launch Mi­crosoft along with the com­puter lan­guage Al­tair Ba­sic, the first aimed at per­sonal com­put­ers.

IBM awards a his­toric con­tract to Mi­crosoft, which leads to the cre­ation of the MS-DOS op­er­at­ing sys­tem, which will be­come the dom­i­nant PC plat­form. Ballmer joins as the 30th em­ployee.

Paul Allen quits Mi­crosoft.

Launch of Win­dows, a graph­i­cally based ver­sion of MS-DOS.

Mi­crosoft’s IPO makes Gates one of the world’s rich­est in­di­vid­u­als.

Launch of Mi­crosoft Of­fice. US an­titrust of­fi­cials be­gin an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Mi­crosoft as a monopoly, which leads to a decade of le­gal bat­tles.

Mi­crosoft moves to adapt to the In­ter­net, launches Win­dows 95.

Ballmer be­comes CEO. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion launches its own an­titrust case against Mi­crosoft.

Mi­crosoft set­tles its US an­titrust case, avert­ing a breakup. The Xbox game con­sole is launched.

Gates ex­its the day-to-day op­er­a­tions of Mi­crosoft to con­cen­trate on his Bill & Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion.

Bing search is launched.

Mi­crosoft launches its first smart­phone op­er­at­ing sys­tem, Win­dows Phone.

Mi­crosoft com­pletes its ac­qui­si­tion of the pop­u­lar mes­sag­ing ser­vice Skype for $8.5 bil­lion.

Win­dows 8 is re­leased, along with Sur­face, the new Mi­crosoft­branded tablet. Mi­crosoft buys the Yam­mer so­cial net­work for $1.2 bil­lion.

Ballmer an­nounces he will re­tire by mid-2014

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