What were you doing 15 years ago today? The launch of Windows 95…


It’s hard to believe it has been 15 years, as it seems so fresh in my memory…  Do you remember August 24, 1995?  Why is that date such a memorable one?  Well, it was the launch of Windows 95 and oh, what a day that was.  How many of you were anxiously waiting for the final release and getting your hands on the newest Windows Operating System from Microsoft? (Like the Windows 7 launch excitement through pre-orders, etc.!)  I know I was LOVING this day back in 1995! 

Fifteen years ago today, I was the owner of a computer software and hardware reseller in the U.S. and a Microsoft partner serving corporate, government, and educational customers across the U.S. (we hadn’t expanded internationally yet).  The excitement and buzz was everywhere around Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 95.  I even remember having the debate, “Should we be open early on launch day?” (Some of you may remember the midnight openings at many computer stores for the Windows 95 launch)  Since we weren’t into end user retail sales at the time, we opted out of opening early and kept our regular hours, but oh the excitement from the clients once we did open for business!

In 1995 at Microsoft:

  • The company celebrated it’s 20 year anniversary
  • Bill Gates authors his first book, “The Road Ahead,” which quickly hit the bestseller lists
  • Microsoft & NBC entered into a partnership: MSNBC
  • Microsoft had less than 18,000 employees

Oh, how far we’ve all come since that very exciting day back then!  What is also very exciting is to look at where we are today.  During the 15th anniversary of Windows 95, there is Windows 7: (What a way to carry on the legacy!)

  • Windows 7 is the fastest selling Windows Operating System in history!
  • Windows 7 saw the largest beta testing program in the history of the industry, with 8 million testers worldwide!
  • People from more than 113 countries downloaded the Windows 7 beta
  • People from around the world are raving about the fantastic features, benefits, usability and more of Windows 7
  • PC shipments increased 24.7% in Q1 of this year (exceeding forecast of 22% growth), according to Gartner
  • Windows PC sales at retail grew 25% YOY in Q1, according to NPD
  • Mobile PC shipments are up 43% YOY in 2010 (the highest the mobile PC market has experienced in eight years!) according to Gartner
  • Plus much more…

Anyway, I just wanted to take a brief moment to take a trip down memory lane, back 15 years to that exciting day when Windows 95 broke onto the scene, and look at how far we have come and just ponder for a moment…  to think about how incredibly exciting it is to see where we are today, where we are going and what we will accomplish over the next 15 years! 

Any of you have any stories that you remember from back then?  I’d love to hear about them if you are willing to share.

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Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric LigmanFollow me on TWITTER, LinkedIn, and RSS and see “What I’m thinking
Global Partner Experience Lead
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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Comments (4)

  1. Eddy Young says:

    I installed Windows 95 from 24 3.5" disks. That was fun.

  2. Lee Evans says:

    I quite fondly remember my Dad returning from the shops, copy of Windows 95 in hand, as myself and my brothers gathered around the family PC (most people only had one back then!) to see what all the fuss was about. What a transition from the MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 interface we were used to. It's amazing to look back now and recognise so much from those days in the modern desktop computer – if you dig a little under the surface you can still find some almost-unchanged screens in Windows 7. Does the PC industry have something to learn from other technology areas – would we find so much in common if we compared an iPod nano and a good old walkman, or a modern smartphone with a rucksack-powered mobile of 1995?.

    Still, when my mum was at school they thought we'd be flying around in space cars by the then unimaginable year 2000!

  3. I'd just finished university; my first exposure to Windows 95 was that spring with the beta, and I took the rather risky step of installing it on my computer while I was working on my final dissertation, which involved heavy use of Matlab. Fortunately compatability was good :-)

    What was even funnier to remember was that I was also beta testing OS/2 Warp 3. It was *not* compatible with Matlab, and so did not last long on my PC. Anyone remember that OS? Anyone?

    I was a Win95 launch day buyer, popping out at lunchtime from my first post-graduation job (some crappy data entry job with the local council) to pick up my treasured copy from Dixons on High Street Kensington. Not too many queues to fight through then, though!

  4. Alex says:

    ….was still busy figuring out Windows NT 3.51 which was released in May 1995 :-), no seriously at our company win95 was totally forbidden as there were issues with running win95 in a Novell Netware environment, so I kind of ignored win95 and stepped from Win 3.11 into the NT world.