Today, 11th February is designated National Inventors’ Day by President Ronald Reagan. It was first to honour the birthday of Thomas Edison but also in “recognition of the enormous contribution inventors make to the nation and the world.”

I’d like to take a little bit of time to talk about a particular inventor in our industry – Bill Gates and Microsoft.

Love or loath Microsoft, it’s fair to say that without this iconic name in computing then things would simply not be the same today. Over the years Bill Gates has been instrumental in the creation of the BASIC programming language for the Altair 8800, the creation of MS-DOS and Windows.  Windows was first launched on November 20th, 1985 and since then it has grown to dominate 75.47% of the desktop OS market.

Whilst all of this has changed how we work it is fair to say that Microsoft’s Office productivity suite is likely to be the tool of choice in many office environments. Microsoft Office was first announced back on August 1, 1988. On July 10, 2012, Softpedia reported that Office is used by over a billion people worldwide. There cannot be many people using a computer that have not used Word, Excel or Powerpoint.

I believe the greatest change to the Office product portfolio and how we will be working in the future came on 28th June 2011 when Office 365 was formally launched. Fast forward 7 years and it now has an active subscriber base of 135 million users with revenue overtaking conventional license sales. Obtaining figures for the standalone versions of software is difficult but back in 2016, it was reported that there were 1.2 billion Office users.

Office 365 provided users with an “always-up-to-date cloud service” alongside the familiar desktop-based productivity suite. Where the traditional Office applications were very much stand-alone, the incorporation of Office 365 brings the world of collaboration to the mix to promote agile working.

With a pay-as-you-go model, you now get to pick and choose what you want and when you want it. This provides businesses of today greater flexibility when buying software. No longer do you need to commit for future needs or pay up front for expensive items that you may never need. Quite simply, it has changed the playing field for Microsoft.

Today, as I am sat in a coffee shop writing this, I think about Bill and how he and Microsoft have simply changed the world we live in #InventorsDay



by Dean Baldwin time to read: 2 min