MS-DOS

DOSMS-DOS 5.0MS-DOS 6.0
This confusion does not exist under OS/2 because there are separate DOS and OS/2 prompts, and running a DOS program under OS/2 will launch a separate DOS window to run the application. All versions of Windows for Itanium (no longer sold by Microsoft) and x86-64 architectures no longer include the NTVDM and can therefore no longer natively run DOS or 16-bit Windows applications. There are alternatives in the form of virtual machine emulators such as Microsoft's own Virtual PC, as well as VMware, DOSBox, and others. From 1983 onwards, various companies worked on graphical user interfaces (GUIs) capable of running on PC hardware.

Personal computer

PCPCspersonal computers
A pocket PC is a hardware specification for a handheld-sized computer (personal digital assistant, PDA) that runs the Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system. It may have the capability to run an alternative operating system like NetBSD or Linux. Pocket PCs have many of the capabilities of desktop PCs. Numerous applications are available for handhelds adhering to the Microsoft Pocket PC specification, many of which are freeware. Microsoft-compliant Pocket PCs can also be used with many other add-ons like GPS receivers, barcode readers, RFID readers and cameras.

Operating system

operating systemsOScomputer operating system
Microsoft Windows is a family of proprietary operating systems designed by Microsoft Corporation and primarily targeted to Intel architecture based computers, with an estimated 88.9 percent total usage share on Web connected computers. The latest version is Windows 10. In 2011, Windows 7 overtook Windows XP as most common version in use. Microsoft Windows was first released in 1985, as an operating environment running on top of MS-DOS, which was the standard operating system shipped on most Intel architecture personal computers at the time. In 1995, Windows 95 was released which only used MS-DOS as a bootstrap.

Windows NT

NTMicrosoft Windows NTWindows NT family
Both systems were designed internally at Microsoft. Windows NT 3.1 was released for Intel x86 PC compatible, PC-98, DEC Alpha, and ARC-compliant MIPS platforms. Windows NT 3.51 added support for the PowerPC processor in 1995, specifically PReP-compliant systems such as the IBM Power Series desktops/laptops and Motorola PowerStack series; but despite meetings between Michael Spindler and Bill Gates, not on the Power Macintosh as the PReP compliant Power Macintosh project failed to ship.

Internet Explorer

Microsoft Internet ExplorerIEMSIE
The idea of removing a stock install of Internet Explorer from a Windows system was proposed during the United States v. Microsoft Corp. case. One of Microsoft's arguments during the trial was that removing Internet Explorer from Windows may result in system instability. Indeed, programs that depend on libraries installed by IE, including Windows help and support system, fail to function without IE. Before Windows Vista, it was not possible to run Windows Update without IE because the service used ActiveX technology, which no other web browser supports. The popularity of Internet Explorer has led to the appearance of malware abusing its name.

Apple Inc.

AppleApple ComputerApple Inc
Throughout this period, Microsoft continued to gain market share with Windows by focusing on delivering software to cheap commodity personal computers, while Apple was delivering a richly engineered but expensive experience. Apple relied on high profit margins and never developed a clear response; instead, they sued Microsoft for using a GUI similar to the Apple Lisa in Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp. The lawsuit dragged on for years before it was finally dismissed. At this time, a series of major product flops and missed deadlines sullied Apple's reputation, and Sculley was replaced as CEO by Michael Spindler.

Windows Mobile

Microsoft Windows MobileWindows Mobile 2003 SEMobile
Windows Mobile is a discontinued family of mobile operating systems developed by Microsoft for smartphones and Pocket PCs. Its origin dated back to Windows CE in 1996, though Windows Mobile itself first appeared in 2000 as Pocket PC 2000. It was renamed "Windows Mobile" in 2003, at which point it came in several versions (similar to the desktop versions of Windows) and was aimed at business and enterprise consumers.

Windows 95

95Microsoft Windows 95Windows 95 OSR2
Together with the introduction of Windows 95, Microsoft released the Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95 pack, which contained a number of optional components for high-end multimedia PCs, including Internet Explorer, DriveSpace and additional themes. The first service pack was made available half a year after the original release and fixed a number of small bugs. The second service pack mainly introduced support for new hardware, most notably support for hard drives larger than 2 GB in the form of the FAT32 file system. This release was never made available to end-users directly and was only sold through OEMs with the purchase of a new PC.

Windows 10

10Windows HelloMicrosoft Windows 10
Although Microsoft's goal to have Windows 10 installed on over a billion devices within three years of its release had failed (on over 900 million over four years later ), it still has an estimated usage share of 63% of all the Windows versions on traditional PCs, and thus 49% of traditional PCs were running Windows 10. Across all platforms (PC, mobile, tablet and console), 35% of devices run some kind of Windows, Windows 10 or older. At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in 2011, Andrew Lees, the chief of Microsoft's mobile technologies, said that the company intended to have a single software ecosystem for PCs, phones, tablets, and other devices.

Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player 11Windows Media Player 12Windows Media Player Mobile
Windows Media Player (WMP) is a media player and media library application developed by Microsoft that is used for playing audio, video and viewing images on personal computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system, as well as on Pocket PC and Windows Mobile-based devices. Editions of Windows Media Player were also released for classic Mac OS, Mac OS X and Solaris but development of these has since been discontinued.

MacOS

Mac OS XOS XMac
Version 10.4, Tiger, reportedly shocked executives at Microsoft by offering a number of features, such as fast file searching and improved graphics processing, that Microsoft had spent several years struggling to add to Windows with acceptable performance. As the operating system evolved, it moved away from the classic Mac OS, with applications being added and removed. Considering music to be a key market, Apple developed the iPod music player and music software for the Mac, including iTunes and GarageBand.

Video game console

consolegame consoleconsoles
Microsoft's Xbox was the first dedicated video game console released by the company in North America on November 15, 2001, in Japan on February 22, 2002, and in Europe and Australia on March 14, 2002. Microsoft realized the power of video game consoles and feared with growing capabilities they may take over more than the living room. It was the first console to employ a hard drive right out of the box to save games, the first to include an Ethernet port for broadband internet, and the beginning of Microsoft's online Xbox LIVE service. Microsoft was able to attract many PC developers by using the NT kernel and DirectX from their Windows operating system.

Tablet computer

tabletstabletTablet PC
Following Windows for Pen Computing for Windows 3.1 in 1991, Microsoft supported tablets running Windows XP under the Microsoft Tablet PC name. Microsoft Tablet PCs were pen-based, fully functional x86 PCs with handwriting and voice recognition functionality. Windows XP Tablet PC Edition provided pen support. Tablet support was added to both Home and Business versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7. Tablets running Windows could use the touchscreen for mouse input, hand writing recognition and gesture support. Following Tablet PC, Microsoft announced the Ultra-mobile PC initiative in 2006 which brought Windows tablets to a smaller, touch-centric form factor.

Web browser

browserweb browsersinternet browser
Microsoft debuted Internet Explorer in 1995, leading to a browser war with Netscape. Microsoft was able to gain a dominant position for two reasons: it bundled Internet Explorer with its popular Microsoft Windows operating system and did so as freeware with no restrictions on usage. Eventually the market share of Internet Explorer peaked at over 95% in 2002. In 1998, desperate to remain competitive, Netscape launched what would become the Mozilla Foundation to create a new browser using the open source software model. This work evolved into Firefox, first released by Mozilla in 2004. Firefox reached a 28% market share in 2011. Apple released its Safari browser in 2003.

Windows Phone

WindowsWPWindows Phones
When connected to an external display, devices could also render a stripped-down desktop interface similar to Windows on PCs, with support for keyboard and mouse input. Windows 10 Mobile featured Skype message integration, updated Office Mobile apps, notification syncing with other Windows 10 devices, support for the Microsoft Edge web browser, and other user interface improvements. Microsoft developed a middleware known as Windows Bridge to allow iOS Objective-C and Android C++ or Java software to be ported to run on Windows 10 Mobile with limited changes to code.

Xbox One

Xbox One XXbox One SXBO
In 2016, Microsoft began to make future Xbox One-exclusive first-party releases simultaneously available on Windows 10 PCs, with digital cross-buy support via Microsoft Store under the branding Xbox Play Anywhere. This, thus, makes the games Microsoft platform exclusives rather than Xbox One exclusives. Microsoft has used the branding "console launch exclusive" to refer to titles (such as PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds) that are timed or permanent exclusives to Xbox console hardware, but were already available on, or are planned to be available on PC.

OS/2

OS/2 WarpIBM OS/2OS/2 Warp 4
OS/2 sales were largely concentrated in networked computing used by corporate professionals; however, by the early 1990s, it was overtaken by Microsoft Windows NT. While OS/2 was arguably technically superior to Microsoft Windows 95, OS/2 failed to develop much penetration in the consumer and stand-alone desktop PC segments; there were reports that it could not be installed properly on IBM's own Aptiva series of home PCs. Microsoft made an offer in 1994 where IBM would receive the same terms as Compaq (the largest PC manufacturer at the time) for a license of Windows 95, if IBM ended development of OS/2 completely.

Smartphone

smartphonessmart phonesmart phones
Windows 10 Mobile (formerly called Windows Phone) is from Microsoft. It is closed source and proprietary. Unveiled on February 15, 2010, Windows Phone includes a user interface inspired by Microsoft's Metro Design Language. It is integrated with Microsoft services such as OneDrive and Office, Xbox Music, Xbox Video, Xbox Live games and Bing, but also integrates with many other non-Microsoft services such as Facebook and Google accounts. Windows Phone devices were made primarily by Microsoft Mobile/Nokia, and also by HTC and Samsung.

Windows Vista

VistaMicrosoft Windows VistaWindows Vista Service Pack 1
Windows Vista is an operating system that was produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs and media center PCs. Development was completed on November 8, 2006, and over the following three months, it was released in stages to computer hardware and software manufacturers, business customers and retail channels. On January 30, 2007, it was released worldwide and was made available for purchase and download from the Windows Marketplace; it is the first release of Windows to be made available through a digital distribution platform.

Windows Phone 8

Windows Phone8Windows
Instead, Microsoft released Windows Phone 7.8 as an update for Windows Phone 7 devices, which backported several features such as the redesigned home screen. Addressing some software bugs with Windows Phone 8 forced Microsoft to delay some enterprise improvements, like VPN support, until the 2014 release of Windows Phone 8.1. In March 2013, Microsoft announced that updates for the Windows Phone 8 operating system would be made available through July 8, 2014. Microsoft pushed support up to 36 months, announcing that updates for the Windows Phone 8 operating system would be made available through January 12, 2016.

Windows 7

7Microsoft Windows 7Windows 7 SP1
Three months later, on January 27, 2011, Microsoft announced total sales of 300 million copies of Windows 7. On July 12, 2011, the sales figure was refined to over 400 million end-user licenses and business installations. As of July 9, 2012, over 630 million licenses have been sold; this number includes licenses sold to OEMs for new PCs. As with other Microsoft operating systems, Windows 7 was studied by United States federal regulators who oversee the company's operations following the 2001 United States v. Microsoft Corp. settlement. According to status reports filed, the three-member panel began assessing prototypes of the new operating system in February 2008.

Android (operating system)

AndroidAndroid operating systemList of Android devices
In addition to running on smartphones and tablets, several vendors run Android natively on regular PC hardware with a keyboard and mouse. In addition to their availability on commercially available hardware, similar PC hardware-friendly versions of Android are freely available from the Android-x86 project, including customized Android 4.4. Using the Android emulator that is part of the Android SDK, or third-party emulators, Android can also run non-natively on x86 architectures. Chinese companies are building a PC and mobile operating system, based on Android, to "compete directly with Microsoft Windows and Google Android".

Windows 8

8Microsoft Windows 8Windows 8.0
Shaw, a Microsoft corporate vice president, said that while many of the negative reviews were extreme, it was a "good thing" that Microsoft was "listening to feedback and improving a product". The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) reported a decline in Microsoft's customer satisfaction, the lowest it has been since Windows Vista. Microsoft says that 4 million users upgraded to Windows 8 over the weekend after its release, which CNET says was well below Microsoft's internal projections and was described inside the company as disappointing.

Linux

GNU/LinuxLinux on the desktopLin
Window managers provide means to control the placement and appearance of individual application windows, and interact with the X Window System. Simpler X window managers such as dwm, ratpoison, i3wm, or herbstluftwm provide a minimalist functionality, while more elaborate window managers such as FVWM, Enlightenment or Window Maker provide more features such as a built-in taskbar and themes, but are still lightweight when compared to desktop environments. Desktop environments include window managers as part of their standard installations, such as Mutter (GNOME), KWin (KDE) or Xfwm (xfce), although users may choose to use a different window manager if preferred.

Windows 3.0

3.0Windows 3.xMicrosoft Windows 3.0
Windows 3.0 was the only version of Windows that could be run in three different memory modes: Real mode primarily existed as a way to run Windows 2.x applications. It was removed in Windows 3.1x. Almost all applications designed for Windows 3.0 had to be run in standard or 386 enhanced modes. (Microsoft Word 1.x and Excel 2.x would work in real mode as they were actually designed for Windows 2.x). However, it was necessary to load Windows 3.0 in real mode to run SWAPFILE.EXE, which allowed users to change virtual memory settings. Officially, Microsoft stated that an 8Mhz turbo 8086 was the minimum CPU needed to run Windows 3.0.