/Happy Birthday Windows 95, Microsoft’s last great Product!

Happy Birthday Windows 95, Microsoft’s last great Product!

Wow ! Can you believe it? Windows 95 launched on this day in 1995.

I remember it well – I was a bright-eyed university student working in PC World to earn my weekend beer money. We had had a couple of  ‘secret’ training sessions on Windows 95 prior to launch by impressive and highly-excited MS people.
They gave all us sales people cheap “I was there at the start” Windows 95 T-Shirts to wear and you know what I LOVED it, I was SO proud to be there, so proud to be part of that massive event.

We opened in the early hours of the morning and I remember the doors opening and the hoards of people rushing in to buy their copy of Microsoft’s newest, revolutionary Operating System. The Rolling Stones were blasting through the speakers all day! What a moment in time!

I don’t think there has been anything on that scale from Microsoft since – which is a shame. Microsoft still makes great products, but none have been quite so revolutionary, or quite so ‘exciting’.

I suspect that after Windows 95, Microsoft patted itself on the back and over the next couple of years watched the competition shrivel up and disappear; IE killed Netscape, Apple was in freefall, IBM’s OS2 Warp never really caught on, Novell was bashed with Windows NT 4 (which came out in 1996) and by about 2000 Microsoft had succeeded and decided to put it’s feet up, arms behind the head in a ‘Job Well Done’ kind of manner.

Unfortunately over the 16 years since WIn 95, the tech industry has undergone some significant changes, The internet took off, New Companies sprung up like Google and Facebook to become Tech giants, Apple has re-emerged like a Phoenix from the fire, PC manufacturers like IBM have already dropped out of the PC / Laptop and Server market and giants like HP are preparing to get out. Smartphones are almost a necessity and Tablets are the latest ‘must have’ gadget and PC Killer.

Microsoft is no longer the innovator that it once was and in fact is now way behind the competition. Their Bing search is nowhere near as popular as Google, Their Web Browser is losing share daily, they have yet to enter the Tablet market, their Smart Phone is lagging behind the competition both in features and market share and their share in the PC market, whilst still very strong, is decreasing. Not only that but even Office is under increasing attack from Online services like Google Docs and Gmail.

Windows 8 is now on the horizon and both Users and PC Manufacturers alike are holding their breath and crossing their fingers that Microsoft can, once again, produce an exciting, innovative product. In a couple of months we’ll find out!

I was proud to “Be there at the start”, I just hope I’m not about to witness “The End”.