Two of Microsoft’s most famous crown jewels, Windows and Office are celebrating anniversaries this month. Windows, the world’s most popular and most widely used desktop operating system, hit the big 30 while Office, famous for its standards, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is now 25. The world’s most popular productivity suite is said to be running on over 1 Billion devices worldwide. After 25 years on the market, it looks like Microsoft is just getting started. With the launch of Office 365 in 2011, Microsoft expanded Office from the standard desktop applications into a platform for Servers, Apps, and Services.
25 Years of Microsoft Office
The history of the suite is of particular interest. Microsoft’s entry into the applications market started with a precursor to Microsoft Excel called Multiplan, a spreadsheet application developed for computers running the CP/M disk operating system that was later ported to MS-DOS, Xenix, and the Macintosh. The success of Multiplan ended with the rise and dominance of Lotus 1-2-3 once a favorite spreadsheet app that has since faded into the history books – no pun.
Microsoft made another attempt at the spreadsheet market with a new application called Excel released in 1985 and Microsoft Word (1983) which was formerly called Multi-Tool Word for Xenix systems – Microsoft’s initial distribution of the UNIX operating system. The success and popularity of new Office applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel are part of what eventually led to the introduction of the productivity suite market with competition from brands such as Novell WordPerfect Office, Lotus SmartSuite, and IBM Works. Speaking of Works, an early attempt to this growing market started with integrated packages called Works. Integrated packages included word processing, spreadsheet, database and contact manager utilizing wizards to accomplish a task like preparing a letter or a resume.
Versions of Microsoft Office for Windows
Microsoft Office version history as not been consistent over the years, due to a combination of point releases and superstition which resulted in the missing 13.0 release.
|Microsoft Office 1.0||November 1990|
|Microsoft Office 3.0||August 1992|
|Microsoft Office 4.0||January 1994|
|Microsoft Office 95 (7.0)||August 1995|
|Microsoft Office 97 (8.0)||November 1996|
|Microsoft Office 2000 (9.0)||June 1999|
|Microsoft Office XP (10.0)||May 2001|
|Microsoft Office 2003 (11.0)||November 2003|
|Microsoft Office 2007 (12.0)||January 2007|
|Microsoft Office 2010 (14.0)||June 2010|
|Microsoft Office 2013 (15.0)||January 2013|
|Microsoft Office 2016 (16.0)||September 2015|
Suites and integrated packages targeted different users. Suites, in particular, were more expensive but offered significant value by bundling popular applications that would cost upwards of $1,500 if bought separately versus $600 for the entire suite. Integrated packages were much cheaper with essential features targeting budget users with particular needs, and they used fewer system resources. In 1989, Microsoft came up with the idea to offer Microsoft’s most popular desktop applications as a bundle called The Microsoft Office for Macintosh. Included were Microsoft Word 4.0, Excel 2.2 and PowerPoint 2.01 and Mail 1.37. In 1990, Microsoft released a version for Windows, which bundled Word 1.1, Excel 2.0, PowerPoint 2.0.