When Bill Gates and Paul Allen established Microsoft in 1975, they could never have envisioned the company would become a global trendsetter. Now a household name, Microsoft is undoubtedly one of the most recognized and respected brands today. You could argue that the world practically runs on Microsoft products like Windows 10 and Office 365.
These products have set a new standard for digital technology and disrupted countless industries in many ways. However, there is more to the tech giant than meets the eye.
Keep reading and you’ll be surprised just like us when we got wind of these Microsoft facts.
Surprising Microsoft Facts
1. The Value of Microsoft Share – Then vs. Now
Microsoft had its IPO in March 1986 with a trading price of a humble $21.
That was fairly within the reach of most investors living at the time. But you would need the foresight of a time traveler to realize that a lesser-known company like Microsoft would become a billion dollar empire.
The stock split a few times over the years. This means you would now have 288 shares after all the splits. This would make them worth $98,651 at the current stock price of $342.
A $5,000 investment would have resulted in 238 shares at the IPO price. This translates into 68,544 shares after the split, making them worth $23,442,048. Keep Microsoft in mind the next time you come across a lesser-known IPO and are on the fence about investing.
2. Why Does Microsoft Have so Many Patents to Their Name?
Being at the forefront of digital innovation isn’t easy and Microsoft makes sure their research efforts aren’t wasted in vain. They currently have over 10,000 patents and, it is said, that they file 3,000 new patents every year. Most of these patents are related to software, but Microsoft also has a few for hardware, video games, and remote technology.
3. How Did Bill Gates Become the Youngest Billionaire Ever?
Only a few months after Microsoft went public, Bill Gates would become the youngest billionaire ever at age 31. By 1995, he would become the world’s richest man with a net worth of $12.9 billion, a paltry amount by 2021 standards.
Today, Gates’ net worth hovers above the $130 billion range and is ever closer to the milestone of $150 billion. Gates’ wealth has been overshadowed by fellow billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos – also founders of tech giants.
Also see: Who is the inventor of the emoticon?
4. Microsoft was Very Close to Being Broken Up
Bill Gates was known for his aggressive business practices, some of which were borderline shady. In fact, his company was frequently accused of foul play as it tried to dominate the marketplace for operating systems and web browsers. The efforts at monopolizing the market led to several court proceedings in the US and Europe.
These cases were eventually resolved and Microsoft came dangerously close to being broken up. Gates eventually left his position as CEO in 2000 and let Steve Ballmer run things. This probably had something to do with their dominance in the mobile market gradually slipping away to Android and Apple.
5. Microsoft Wasn’t Gates’ First Rodeo
Gates and Allen were very familiar with the entrepreneurial space and had previously founded another company called Traf-O-Data. They designed a computer system that processed raw data from roadway traffic counters to create reports for engineers. What’s even more impressive is that they developed this system while still in high school.
The company didn’t do all too well but it provided the duo with a valuable learning experience. Firstly, they learned how computer programming works in real life, and second, they found the blueprint and vision for what would become Microsoft.
6. Gates’ Mother Played a Huge Role in His Success
Everyone likes to believe in the tale of a self-made entrepreneur, and up until a few years, Bill Gates’ climb to success was largely treated as a rags-to-riches story. But the truth is – and Gates admits this himself – his parents had a big role to play in the success of Microsoft. IBM, their biggest customer, had other software companies to choose from.
But Mary Gates, Bill’s mother, used her connections to speak with former IBM chairman, Opel about using Microsoft. This led to IBM ‘taking a chance’ with Microsoft. The rest is history. For more details, visit this CNBC story.
7. Did Bill Gates Hate Steve Jobs?
It’s no secret that up until Apple founder Steve Jobs’ death, Bill Gates and Steve were archrivals. But not everyone knows that the two business magnates previously worked together on the same project. In the most formative year of their two companies, Gates and Jobs collaborated on designing software for the first Mac computer.
It didn’t take long before the two companies came head to head for a bigger share in the market, and Gates and Jobs developed a bitter rivalry through to the end. The portmanteau ‘fremeny’ fits the duo well.
8. How Did Microsoft Save Apple?
Apple keeps hitting record-setting market cap valuations every year and crossed the coveted $1 trillion milestone. But things weren’t always on the up-and-up for the electronics giant. In 1997, the company was headed toward bankruptcy and desperately needed someone to bail them out with a massive investment.
Out of nowhere, Bill Gates stepped in with his $150 million investment even though Apple was a direct competitor. Steve Jobs had to make an awkward announcement to his audience – a historical moment that has been captured on camera. Despite the bitter rivalry between the two, the investment saved Apple from the brink of ruin. The digital landscape would likely have been unrecognizable without Apple running the show.
9. Microsoft Used Codenames for their Projects
Microsoft knows the high profile nature of their work and keeps paparazzi second guessing with unique code names to hide their projects in obscurity. This kills two birds in one stone: keeps their projects under wraps and gives them more time to come up with trendy names.
They have several code names for some of their biggest projects, examples include Longhorn, Sparta, Chicago, and Durango (Xbox One).
10. Microsoft Changed the Gaming Landscape with Xbox
Sony’s PlayStation likely would have no rivals in the console space if it weren’t for the Xbox series. Many Xbox exclusives like Forza and Halo kept Sony on their toes, forcing them to come up with their own line up of exclusives.
The same also applies to PCs because Microsoft is the creator of DirectX, an essential tool used in designing video games.
11. Microsoft Uses Bizarre Interview Techniques
When you get your pick of the best and brightest people from around the world, you become spoiled for choice. And with a valuation of over $2.5 trillion, Microsoft gets resumes and CVs from thousands of applicants. Microsoft employs interesting interviewing techniques to separate the wheat from the chaff. They avoid using standardized questions during interviews (most likely out of boredom) and opt for more creative solutions.
Microsoft wants to see candidates show off their personality instead of marketing their skills. It is said that one of the questions they ask during interviews is why manhole covers are round.
12. Microsoft Campus has Lots of Rabbits
Google is known for keeping goats on their land and Microsoft has a thing for rabbits. As the legend goes, a few stray rabbits made their way on the campus and their numbers grew rapidly. Microsoft tried to neuter some of the rabbits but keeping their population in check is no easy task. To this day, you’ll find rabbits hopping around the campus and doing their own thing.
13. The Legend of the Microsoft XP Wallpaper
It would be extremely difficult to not have seen the Windows XP background photo with a grassy field against the backdrop of a clear blue sky and mountains. The photograph was taken by Charles O’Rear in 1996 and sold to Microsoft. The picture, rightfully titled ‘Bliss’, is remained the face of Windows XP, and with it, the company.
Even if users decide to change the wallpaper, they would see it at least once after a fresh installation of Windows. As a result, it is argued that ‘Bliss’ is the most viewed digital photograph of all time.
14. Microsoft was the First to Create a Smartphone
Apple continues to dominate the smartphone industry, but it wasn’t always like this. Microsoft was the first company to create smartphones in 2000. This is seven years before the launch of the first iPhone. Microsoft was already experimenting with the idea of an operating system on phones and PDAs.
However, the consumer market at the time wasn’t ready for a smartphone and Microsoft had other projects to focus their resources on.
15. Microsoft was the First to Create a Smartwatch
Microsoft was also the first company to create a smartwatch in 1994. They collaborated with Timex to produce the Datalink 150. The watch was water-resistant and required a Windows 3.1. But the concept of the Smartwatch was still in a nascent stage and the product never reached the mainstream market.
Funny Orchestra on Microsoft Windows
Comedian and musician Rainer Hersch puts on an interesting performance that uses sounds very similar to the ones used in Windows XP. Hersch is a comedian who has appeared 13 times at Edinburgh Festival and made countless cameos on Radio and BBC TV.
So, there you go, fifteen facts you may (or hopefully may not) have heard about Microsoft. It would be interesting to see how Microsoft evolves in the coming year. The company is 47 years old and has played a pivotal role in the growth and development of technology. You can keep checking this space for new updates on the tech giant.
I’m Natalie Garcia and I started this website to share my love of trivia, facts and fun knowledge tidbits. We cover things like celebrity gossip, historical facts, tv shows, world leaders and just odd and random fun things. I started this site to have some fun with my hobby and share some useful information with you, our community. Please feel to send me your suggestions and feedback through the contact form. And if you have suggestions for things to write about, please shoot me a message!