If you’re into the history of computing, watch this History Uncut video showing a young Bill Gates taking questions from the press about Microsoft Excel for Windows, back in 1987. Glasses were really big back then, clearly.
As it happens, Microsoft had already released the first version of Excel two years prior, but only for Macintosh. And Microsoft had previously tried its hand at spreadsheet software with a program called Multiplan in 1982, only to be bested by Lotus 1-2-3 on MS-DOS systems (Multiplan for Macintosh was very popular).
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Microsoft releasing Excel for Windows in 1987, however, helped the company achieve a leading position in the PC software world by steadily overtaking Lotus 1-2-3 on many a desktop. Below is a video of Bill Gates answering questions from journalists after the unveiling of the new software (via Hacker News).
The background noise makes it impossible to actually hear the journalist’s question(s), but Gates talks about the ‘high-quality output’ of Excel. He also talks about the important of getting the software in front of the eyes and in the hands of influencers, essentially advocating word-of-mouth marketing, and more.
In 1987, Microsoft ended its fiscal year with roughly $346 million in sales and an employee headcount of 1,816 people. That year, it also acquired Forethought, the developer of what became desktop presentation app Microsoft PowerPoint.
That year, Microsoft and IBM announced and released the first version of OS/2, which was the first product to be announced as a result of the Joint Development Agreement between the companies in August 1985.
Microsoft still used its “blibbet” logo up until 1987, when it was replaced by the familar “Pac-Man” logo designed by Scott Baker. The company kept using that logo from that year onwards, until replacing it with a fresh one just a few weeks ago.
It’s also the year in which Microsoft hired Melinda Ann French, who participated in the development of many of the company’s multimedia products, including Publisher, Microsoft Bob, Encarta, and Expedia. In 1994, she married Bill Gates.