Microsoft's Windows Launches Through the Years

The launch of Windows 8 last year was the biggest product launch in the industry's history. How do the company's previous Windows launches stack up? Follow the timeline of Microsoft's operating system releases in this infographic.

It has been a year and a couple of days since Microsoft held the biggest product launch in the history of the industry: Windows 8. The operating system was intended to be a bold step into a new era for Microsoft, giving it a strong foothold into a tablet market dominated by Apple and Google.

Microsoft spent $1.8 billion on its Windows 8 campaign and saw a more than respectable $16 billion in revenue (100 million copies sold) from the operating system in its first six months. But for all that, the response to the launch has been characterized as tepid at best. There were complaints about the removal of the start button and other interface changes that catered to tablet users at the expense of the desktop experience that led Mat Honan to write in his article for Wired, that people "hate" it.

"They hate it because instead of unifying everything, Windows 8 is a fractured, bipolar experience," he wrote. "In its attempt to balance the demands of good design and those of its conservative user base, the OS winds up being an uncomfortable mix of playfulness and stodginess, the mullet of computer operating systems."

Two weeks ago, Microsoft released Windows 8.1 in an attempt to address the complaints and respond to user needs.

Still, whether the launch can be considered successful or not, Microsoft has come a long way in the 21 years since it launched Windows 3 and sold 10 million copies in two years with a campaign spend of $8 million.

WhoIsHostingThis has put together this detailed infographic on Microsoft's Windows launches through the years. Check it out:

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Thor Olavsrud covers IT Security, Big Data, Open Source, Microsoft Tools and Servers for CIO.com. Follow Thor on Twitter @ThorOlavsrud. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.

Read more about operating systems in CIO's Operating Systems Drilldown.

This story, "Microsoft's Windows Launches Through the Years" was originally published by CIO.

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