Today, 24th of August 2015, marks the 20th anniversary of Windows 95, an operating system that changed Microsoft and the tech world in general forever. The OS is constantly lauded as one of the company’s greatest accomplishments and for good reason as it brought on many changes that are now considered commonplace and allowed Microsoft to establish itself as a giant in the tech field.
Though I was admittedly way too young to actually experience the event, the stories and hype surround Windows 95s launch balanced on insane and unbelievable. Every major publication talked about it, people were waiting in lines for hours to grab their copies and Microsoft along with Bill Gates were being celebrated and hated in equal measure. Of course, Microsoft was already a major player in the field with $5.9 billion in sales and around 17.800 employees but when you compare it to today’s $93.6 billion in sales and 117.354 employees, the first numbers seem tiny.
Some of the major changes introduced with the OS were the switch to a true graphical user interface in 32-bit and the now-classic Start menu. Windows 95 was supported until the start of 2002 when newer operating systems made it look like a technological fossil by comparison yet its impact is still felt today. Whether Microsoft’s OS deserved all this praise or not is another discussion entirely but at least no one can deny just how popular Windows 95 was.