New York Yimes
December 25, 1997
Important Dates in Microsoft's History
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Key dates in the history of Microsoft Corp.: 1975 Microsoft founded by Paul Allen and Bill Gates, friends who had co-written a programming language for the Altair hobby-kit personal computer a year earlier. 1980 Microsoft chosen by IBM to create operating system for its first PC. The software, which runs the machine's basic functions, is called MS-DOS. 1983 Microsoft introduces Word word-processing program and plans to create Windows, which would improve MS-DOS with graphical icons that make PCs easier to use. 1991 Federal Trade Commission begins to investigate claims Microsoft monopolizes the market for PC operating systems. 1993 The FTC deadlocks on two votes to file a formal complaint against Microsoft and decides to close investigation. Justice Department and European Commission antitrust investigators begin independent probes. July 1994 Microsoft agrees to change contracts with PC makers and eliminate some restrictions on other software makers, ending the U.S. and European antitrust investigations. October 1994 Microsoft makes deal to buy Intuit, maker of the personal finance software Quicken. The tentative takeoverwould be the largest software merger ever and raises further concern about Microsoft's growing influence in the industry. January 1995 Federal judge Stanley Sporkin questions validity of July 1994 antitrust settlement. February 1995 Sporkin rejects settlement, saying it's not in the public interest. April 1995 Justice Department blocks Microsoft purchase of Intuit, saying the deal could lead to higher software prices and diminish innovation. June 1995 U.S. Court of Appeals reinstates 1994 antitrust settlement between Microsoft and Justice Department rejected by Sporkin and grants Microsoft's request to remove him from the case. August 1995 Microsoft launches Windows 95. November 1995 Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 2.0 for Windows 95, giving it away for free in challenge to Netscape's Navigator. December 1995 Bill Gates details shift in Microsoft strategy to focus on the Internet, closely weaving PCs with the public computer network. Microsoft and NBC announced deal to create cable channel and on-line news service, MSNBC. July 1996 MSNBC debuts. April 1997 Microsoft buys WebTV Networks and plans to expand the pioneering maker of devices for viewing the Internet on ordinary TVs. June 1997 Microsoft invests $1 billion in Comcast Corp., a deal that could bring high-speed online access to millions of homes via cable TV. August 1997 Microsoft and Apple Computer unveil broad-ranging deal to share technology and set aside long-standing feud. Deal requires Apple to make Microsoft's browser software, Internet Explorer, easier for Web surfers to use than rival Netscape's Navigator. September 1997 Microsoft launches Internet Explorer 4.0 in stepped-up challenge to Netscape, whose share of browser market slips to less than two-thirds of Internet users. October 1997 Justice Department sues Microsoft, accusing Microsoft of violating the 1994 consent decree by forcing computer makers to use its Internet browser as a condition of using its popular Windows operating software. Dec. 11, 1997 Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson of federal district court issues preliminary injunction forcing Microsoft to stop, at least temporarily, requiring manufacturers to install its Internet Explorer on PCs. Dec. 15, 1997 Microsoft appeals court order and says it would sell stripped-down versions of Windows to comply with preliminary injunction. Dec. 17, 1997 Justice Department asks judge to find Microsoft in contempt and accuses Microsoft of trying to evade the federal court order by offering commercially worthless software. Dec. 19, 1997 Judge says he quickly removed Internet browser software from the Windows 95 computer system, disputing Microsoft's contention that its system will not perform properly without the program. Mar. 3, 1998 Gates and other top technology executives testify before Senate committee, whose members ask Gates about monopoly power and restrictive licenses with computer makers. May 12, 1998 Federal appeals court says Dec. 11 injunction should not extend to Windows 98. May 14, 1998 Microsoft agrees to delay shipping Windows 98 for several days while it negotiates with federal government and 20 states in attempt to forestall antitrust lawsuits. May 16, 1998 Negotiations collapse. May 18, 1998 Justice Department and 20 state attorneys general sue Microsoft, charging it illegally thwarted competition to protect and extend its monopoly on software.