Programming Windows: Microsoft Basic (Premium)


Today, Microsoft is most closely identified by its Redmond, Washington campus and the market dominance of Windows. But it started more humbly, in a strip mall office in a rundown part of Albuquerque, New Mexico and with its first home-grown version of the BASIC programming language.

I don’t want to get too bogged down in this pre-Windows ancient history. But the short version is that Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft in 1975 specifically to sell BASIC for the first personal computer, called the MITS Altair 8800. Sold as a kit to enthusiasts---Gates and Allen had found out about it in Popular Electronics magazine in December 1974---the Altair was powered by an 8-bit 8080 processor. Gates and Allen knew it was powerful enough to run the BASIC programming language, and given their past successes building an emulator for the Intel 8008---the 8080’s predecessor---and various software development tools on a PDP-10 mainframe for their first company, called Traf-O-Data, they modified it for the newer chip and got to work.

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