SAN FRANCISCO (04/04/2000) - When Microsoft Corp. was founded back in the PC stone age, hardware was expensive and geeks were in short supply. Today, partly to the software giant's credit, computers are cheaper and geeks are abundant but expensive. Here are some key facts and historical moments in Microsoft's march toward global power--and antitrust scrutiny.
-- Microsoft begins shipping Windows: 1985-- Microsoft begins bundling Internet Explorer with Windows: 1996-- Rhetorical question Bill Gates asks during a November 1996 Comdex keynote:
"Should we take a browser as the starting point and essentially extend that into an operating system and ask that new applications be built around it?"
-- Microsoft tightly integrates IE with Windows: June 1998, with Windows 98-- Microsoft learns it is the target of a Federal Trade Commission probe: 1991-- Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson issues his findings of fact and declares Microsoft a monopoly in the computer operating systems market: November 5, 1999-- Bill Gates's comments on the findings of fact, issued later that day: "We ... believe the American legal system ultimately will affirm that Microsoft's actions and innovations were fair and legal, and have brought tremendous benefits to millions of consumers."
-- Microsoft and the Department of Justice declare that settlement talks have failed: April Fool's Day, 2000-- Number two-selling business software for 1999, according to PC Data:
Microsoft Windows 98 Upgrade Second Edition, $89-- Number one-selling business software for 1998: Microsoft Windows 98 Upgrade, $88-- Gates steps down as chief executive officer of Microsoft while Steve Ballmer, previously Microsoft's president, moves in: January 13, 2000-- Number of pages in Bill Gates's most recent book, Business @ the Speed of Thought: 470-- Bill Gates's PC of the future, January 31, 1996: "A wallet PC will be a pocket-size computer with a snapshot-size color screen that [will hold] money and items that authenticate who you are, such as keys, identification, credit cards, and tickets of various kinds, as well as items that provide you with mobile information and communications, such as a watch, newspapers, or other reading material; address and appointment books; photographs; calculator; portable telephone; and pager."
-- Number of test-code lines for Windows 2000: 10 million-- Largest computer running Windows 2000: A 40-foot laptop at the Windows 2000 launch, February 17, 2000, at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco-- Age of Bill Gates when he dropped out of Harvard: 19-- Microsoft's first customer: MITS, manufacturer of the Altair personal computer-- Year-end sales in 1978: $1 million-- Microsoft becomes the first software company to exceed $1 billion in sales in a single year with revenues of $1.18 billion: July 25, 1990-- Net revenue for the year ending in June 1999: $19.7 billion-- Net profit for that year: $7.8 billion-- Percentage of female employees among Microsoft's 23,539 U.S. employees: 26-- Average age of U.S. Microsoft employees: 34.5-- Number of people employed by Microsoft worldwide in 1999: 34,751 -- Number of people employed by Microsoft worldwide in 1976: 7-- Date of Microsoft's initial public offering: March 13, 1986-- Cost of one share on March 13, 1986: $21-- Number of times Microsoft's stock has split since it went public: 8-- Cost of one share on March 24, 2000: $104.81.