History of XENIX

1980: Microsoft announces Microsoft XENIX OS, a portable operating system for 16-bit microprocessors. It is an interactive, multi-user, multi-tasking system that will run on Intel 8086, Zilog Z8000, Motorola M68000, and DEC PDP-11 series. All of Microsoft's existing system software (COBOL, PASCAL, BASIC and DBMS) will be adapted to run under the XENIX system, and all existing software written for UNIX OS will be compatible as well.

6/11/80 Microsoft hires Steve Ballmer. He will be responsible for establishing policies and procedures in the financial, organizational, and resource allocation areas.

Although the company grows by only two employees, sales more than triple. Microsoft introduces the Pascal language, develops XENIX (enhanced version of the UNIX operating system), and begins to explore spreadsheet applications. It also releases its first hardware product, the Microsoft SoftCard, which allows Apple II users to run CP/M-80 (operating system from Digital Research -nope, no MS-DOS yet!) applications. The biggest of the big news, however, is still a big secret: a contract with IBM to develop languages for their first personal computer. Wow. But it gets better. They need an operating system too!


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