Flashback: How Microsoft Windows 1.0 Was Sold

  • Tweet  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Facebook  
  • Google plus  
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to  

Before it was a household name and built the world’s largest channel, Microsoft sent its best pitchman -- Steve Ballmer -- to television to hock its revolutionary new product, Windows 1.0. Here’s a flashback to the commercial that started it all.

BallmerHere's a little Friday Flashback fun to end your week. Long before Microsoft Corp. released Windows 8 or built the world’s largest channel, there was Microsoft Windows 1.0. And how did Microsoft take this revolutionary operating system to market in the mid-1980s? Television commercials featuring their top pitchman of the day, Steve Ballmer.

Related articles

Yes, Virginia, the energetic and excitable Ballmer took to the airwaves in 1986 wearing his best suit and narrow tie to entice 8088 PC users to order via mail Microsoft’s first GUI operating system that “integrates Lotus 1-2-3 with Miami Vice.”

Why was Ballmer on the airwaves and not Microsoft's emblematic founder, Bill Gates? Back then, Gates wasn't that well known and was still more of a behind-the-scenes guy. Ballmer, who joined Microsoft in 1980 as the 30th employee, was the company's first real business manager. He was the one driving Microsoft's expansion, and therefore the perfect choice as pitchman, we suspect.

Microsoft’s sales model and channels have come a long way since the days when you sent a $99 via snail-mail for a handful of floppy disks. Even as Microsoft preps Window 8.1 with a boatload of enhancements and new features, it’s fun to see what the software giant considered “revolutionary” back when "Night Court," "Moonlighting" and "LA Law" ruled the airwaves (and, yes, they were still broadcast over the airwaves).

Ballmer, in his trademark dynamism, perfectly explained all the applications that came with Windows 1.0, including Reversi. Other applications included Windows Write, Windows Paint, Calendar, Card File, Control Panel, RAM Driver and a Clock.

“Can you believe it?” as Ballmer exclaimed.

And like any good infomercial pitchman, Ballmer built the value based on price. Was it worth $500 or $1,000? No. It was all $99. Now, if that seems like a bargain, consider that adjusted for inflation, the cost of Windows 1.0 in 2013 would be approximately $211. That's still cheap considering the average PC cost between $1,500 and $2,500 in the mid-80s (or as much as $5,000 in today's dollars).

Yes, Microsoft has come a long way since Window 1.0. It even sells software in Nebraska now (still trying to figure that one out).

  • Tweet  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Facebook  
  • Google plus  
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to  
More on Channel Business
Two men shake hands

Public offering: Ingram Micro and VMWare release new partner program

Public sector partners to benefit at no cost

learn-chalkboard

Watch and learn: Brocade EMEA merge watched carefully by U.S. arm

Benefits of channel and OEM business merge apparent in EMEA and APAC

Clouds jigsaw

More to channel life than cloud - Microsoft

Firm's UK channel lead says hybrid solutions may be the answer for many

digital-hugging

CA embraces channel to build Application Economy

CA is shaking off its record of channel ambivalence to embrace partners’ capabilities to reach and service customers’ evolving and dynamic needs in the unfolding ‘Application Economy’

Visitor comments
Add comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
In-depth
Jarrett Miller

Vendor Q&A Series: Jarrett Miller, Bromium

The latest channel exec to sit in the Channelnomics hotseat is Bromium's VP of global channel sales

John Schweizer - DataStax

Vendor Q&A Series: John Schweitzer, DataStax

Our latest exec to sit in the Channelnomics hotseat is John Schweitzer, executive vice president, worldwide field operations at DataStax

digital-hugging

CA embraces channel to build Application Economy

CA is shaking off its record of channel ambivalence to embrace partners’ capabilities to reach and service customers’ evolving and dynamic needs in the unfolding ‘Application Economy’

target-person

U.S. giants missing the mark in the UK

Insight and Misco took financial hits in the UK in 2013