The success of Windows 3.0 and 3.1 had catapulted one of Microsoft’s biggest embarrassments into a worldwide success the likes of which the personal computing industry had never seen. But the next release, called Windows 4.0, and expected in late 1993, would be even bigger. Indeed, by the time it hit the market in August 1995 as Windows 95---the name was changed in July 1994 as part of a company-wide product naming revision---it was clear that this launch would mark the apex of Microsoft’s success.
“Microsoft’s goal for Windows 95 are the same goals we’ve had for every release of Windows,” Microsoft executive vice president Steve Ballmer wrote in the foreword to Adrian King’s Inside Windows 95 in mid-1994. “We want to make computing even easier. We want to provide a development platform for the desktop. We want to provide a high-volume, low-cost operating system that will spur industry growth and innovation. We believe that Windows 95 will accomplish these goals and that Windows 95 will be even more important to the PC world than Windows 3.1, which now has over 60 million users.” (It would have over 100 million users by the time Windows 95 finally shipped.)