Chronology of Microsoft Windows Operating Systems

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References are numbered in [brackets], which are listed here. A number after the dot gives the page in the source.

Last updated: 2022 April 29.


1994

January 19
  • Shipments of Windows to date: 40 million. [909.236]
February
  • Microsoft releases Microsoft Windows 3.11. It includes minor driver updates, but more importantly it gives Microsoft the opportunity to include a "certificate of authenticity" hologram sticker on the packaging, making illegal copying more difficult. [509.177] (January [687.32])
May
  • Microsoft sends out the first official beta test version of what will be Windows 95. [209.30]
June
  • Microsoft is granted a trademark to the name "Windows" for software products. [91]
July
  • Microsoft ships the 500,000th copy of Windows NT 3.1. [878.217]
September
  • Microsoft announces and ships Windows NT Workstation 3.5 and Windows NT Server 3.5. The software comprises 10 million lines of code. [94] [505.37] [567.132] [778.114] [1182.166] [1648.52] [1701.145] [1897.130] (August [1037.34])
  • Microsoft announces the name of its upcoming Windows upgrade: Windows 95. [92] [123] [389.29] [858.7]
November 7
  • Apple Computer, Motorola, and IBM announce that they will create a computer platform to run all major operating systems, except the Intel x86-based Microsoft Windows 3.1 and successors. Apple Computer will port the Mac OS to this platform, and license other vendors to create Mac-compatible computers. IBM will port OS/2 and AIX, SunSoft will port Solaris, Motorola will port Windows NT, and Novell will port NetWare. [184.102] [397.12] [881.76,81] [739.128] [936] [2605.252]
December 19
  • Apple Computer files a write of certiorari with the US Supreme Court asking justices to review the case of Microsoft copyright infringement in Windows. [2605.173]
December
  • Microsoft licenses web browsing technology from Spyglass, royalty-free, for use in Windows 95. [1423.116,190]
December 31
  • Shipments of Windows NT to date: 1 million. [1701.145]
  • Shipments of Windows to date: 50-60 million. [214] [1431.62]

1995

  • SunSoft releases Wabi 2.0 for Solaris 2 operating system. Wabi supports Windows 3.1 and Windows 3.11 applictions, but not Windows for Workgroups or MS-DOS. [1037.148]
March
  • Microsoft releases the first open beta test version of Windows 95. Nearly 1 million copies are given out. [909.236]
June
  • Installed base of Microsoft customers' desktop operating systems: DOS 39%, Windows 3.x 55%, Windows NT 1%, other 5%. [554.54]
  • Microsoft releases Windows NT v3.51. [237.45] [323.20]
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  • Microsoft releases Windows NT v3.51 for the PowerPC. [428.209]
July 14
  • Microsoft terms Windows 95 source code "golden", meaning that no more changes to the 15 million lines of code will be made before the product ships. [1700.270]
August
  • Microsoft begins shipping Windows NT Server 3.51. [567.132]
August 21
  • US District Court Judge Thomas Jackson holds the first and only hearing on the consent decree between Microsoft and the US Department of Justice. Within 17 minutes, he signs his approval of it. The decree will govern Microsoft's licensing practices of Windows for the next 6.5 years, barring the company from linking unrelated software licenses. The ruling comes after five years of investigation of monopolistic licensing practices. [387.32] [389.29] [765.14] [775] [1462.94] [1700.260] [1711.3]
August 23
  • Quote by comedian Jay Leno about computers, at a rehersal for the Windows 95 launch: "I came illiterate, now I'm leaving virtually retarded.". [1700.2]
August 24
  • At the stroke of midnight in Auckland, New Zealand, the first retail copy of Windows 95 is sold. [1700.6]
  • Microsoft signs a licensing agreement allowing IBM to install Windows 95 on its personal computers. IBM is the last company allowed to license the operating system prior to the product launch, and also pays the most, US$45.90 per copy. [1711.230]
  • Microsoft releases the Windows 95 operating system, with a product launch in a circus tent on Microsoft's campus in Redmond. Over 12,500 people were invited to attend the launch, plus live satellite broadcasts are made available in 42 US cities and world capitals. This is the first consumer Windows version that does not require MS-DOS pre-installed. New features include integrated TCP/IP stack, dial-up networking, and long filenames. More than 20,000 retail stores offer copies for sale. Microsoft prepares for support calls, with 1600 people staffing tech support lines. The software comprises over 11 million lines of code. The US$250 million publicity campaign includes US$12 million for the rights to the "Start Me Up" song by the Rolling Stones. This is the biggest marketing extravaganza for a consumer product ever. First day sales total about 300,000 copies. [123] [182] [191.48] [271.70] [272.A5] [301.3] [323.20] [387.1] [388.6] [389.29] [428.12] [439.12] [548.159] [620.134] [626.72] [721.156] [755.93] [794.39] [877.17] [909.236] [1112.144] [1125.5] [1129.166] [1215.41] [1629.35] [1639.125] [1700.1,275] [1897.130] [2605.175]
August 27
  • In the first four days of its release, one million copies of Windows 95 have been sold. [917.100] [1129.166] [1280.50] [1897.130]
October
  • Microsoft releases Windows 95 in most Western European countries. [1559]
November 14
  • IBM, Apple Computer, and Motorola release the PowerPC Platform specifications, called the Common Hardware Reference Platform (CHRP). It encompasses support for Macintosh System 7, Windows NT, AIX, Solaris, NetWare, and OS/2. Windows 3.x and Windows 95 are excluded. [283.56] [433.15] [439.12] [1559] [1597.86] [2605.253] (November 1994 [64.31])
November
  • At Fall Comdex, Apple Computer unveils the Newton 2.0 operating system, with ability to synchronize data with Windows and Mac OS applications, screen rotation, and revised handwriting recognition. [2605.198]
(month unknown)
  • Insignia Solutions releases SoftWindows 2.0 for Power Macintosh. It emulates a 486 processor in software, providing a DOS 6.22 / Windows 3.11 environment, and supporting DOS networking protocols. Price is about US$300. [926.71]
Year
  • Market share of Windows applications in world regions: Western Europe 92%, Eastern Europe 93%, Asia/Pacific 89%, North America 75%. [1559]
  • Unit sales of Windows 95 licences to PC vendors to date: 11.4 million. [1215.41]
  • Unit sales of Windows 95 upgrade packages to date: 8.8 million. [755.93] [1215.41]
  • Shipments of personal computer operating systems for the year: Windows 95 19 million, Windows 3.11 34 million, OS/2: 4.5 million, Windows NT 2.355 million. [454.14] [458.12] [478.1] (Windows 95 20 million [521.10]) (OS/2 1.722 million [478.1])

1996

February 14
  • Microsoft releases the Windows 95 Service Pack 1 operating system update. [472.109] [1559] [1588.19]
March
  • Microsoft ships the 30 millionth copy of Windows 95. [452.53]
  • Microsoft launches Windows 95 in China. [781.41]
April
  • At the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, Microsoft releases its PC 97 specification, which systems must meet to carry the "Designed for Microsoft Windows" logo. [294]
June
  • SunSoft releases Wabi 2.2 (Windows Applications Binary Interface) allowing SPARC processor-based computers to run Windows applications. [523.19]
  • Installed base of Microsoft desktop operating systems: DOS 25%, Windows 3.x 49%, Windows 95 20%, Windows NT 1%, other 5%. [554.54]
  • SunSoft releases Wabi 2.2 (Windows Applications Binary Interface) allowing SPARC processor-based computers to run Windows applications. [523.19]
August
  • Microsoft releases OEM Service Release 2 for Windows 95. [726.218] [721.157] (late in year [780.54])
August 24
  • Microsoft releases Windows NT 4.0, with graphical user interface similar to that of Windows 95. The software comprises 16.5 million lines of code. Code-name during development was Cairo. [721.157] [779.42] [1182.166] [1241.19] [1526.87] [1559] [1648.53] [1897.131] (July 31 [847.13] [1639.125])
September 16
  • Microsoft unveils Windows CE operating system for handheld computers. Code-name of the project was Pegasus. "CE" stands for Consumer Electronics. [565.32] [599.4] [1244.36]
October
  • Microsoft begins shipping Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2 (OSR2) for new systems, with optional 32-bit File Allocation Table (FAT32), Internet Explorer 3.0, drivers for 120 MB Floptical drive and Zip drive, and support for Pentium MMX. [1158.255] [1588.44] [1639.127]
  • Microsoft distributes 3,5000 Alpha test copies of Windows NT 5.0 to software developers. [1032.19]
October 17
  • Microsoft announces it will cease development of Windows NT for systems using MIPS processors, due to decreasing demand. [779.42] [1075.36] [1559]
November 18
  • At the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Microsoft officially launches Windows CE 1.0 for handheld microcomputers. It includes includes a personal information manager, limited versions of Word and Excel, and an email client. [947.151] [1444.46] [1559] [1253.166] [1648.53] [1897.131] [2605.202]
December 4
  • At the Handheld PDA Expo in San Mateo, California, Microsoft announces that the Windows CE operating system will support Motorola MPC 821 and 823 PowerPC processors, and ARM processors from Digital Equipment and Cirrus Logic. [1559]
December 16
  • IBM and Motorola announce they will halt development and sales of Windows NT-based PowerPC systems. [886.53] [1559] [1597.87] [1674.D4]
December 31
  • Shipments of Windows 95 operating system to date: about 65 million. [1423.239]
Year
  • Shipments of personal computer operating systems for the year: Windows NT 4 million. [886.39]
  • Personal computer operating system market share for the year: Microsoft Windows and DOS 86% (Window 95 18%, Windows NT 3%), Mac OS 4.6%. [886.39] [1460.234]
  • Market share of personal computer operating systems in the US during the year: Microsoft Windows and DOS 87%, Mac OS 5.6%. [1683.48]

End of 1994-1996. Next: 1997.
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1981-1989 1990-1993 1994-1996 1997-1999 2000-end


A list of references to all source material is available.

Other web pages of interest:

  • Chronology of Personal Computers
  • Personal Computer References in Pop Culture
  • Chronology of Microprocessors
  • Chronology of Handheld Computers
  • Chronology of Workstation Computers
  • This Day in Personal Computer and Video Game History
  • This Day in History

  • Last updated: 2022 April 29.
    Copyright © 2007-2022 (email: ).
    URL: https://pctimeline.info/windows/
    Link to Ken P's home page.