Tandy Trower talks about 'Secret Origin of Windows'

Microsoft staffers talk MS-DOS 2.0 with the editors of PC World in late 1982 or early 1983. Windows 1.0 wouldn’t ship for almost another two years. From left: Microsoft’s Chris Larson, PC World’s Steve Cook, Bill Gates, Tandy Trower, and founding PC World editor Andrew Fluegelman.Tandy Trower, who worked at Microsoft from 1981-2009, was the […]

Microsoft staffers talk MS-DOS 2.0 with the editors of PC World in late 1982 or early 1983. Windows 1.0 wouldn’t ship for almost another two years. From left: Microsoft’s Chris Larson, PC World’s Steve Cook, Bill Gates, Tandy Trower, and founding PC World editor Andrew Fluegelman.

Tandy Trower, who worked at Microsoft from 1981-2009, was the product manager who ultimately shipped Windows 1.0. Trower recounts the inside story of his experience in transforming Windows from vaporware into a product that has left an unmistakable imprint on the world, 25 years after it was first released. “Microsoft’s strategy to get IBM to license Windows had failed. IBM had rejected Windows in favor of its own character-based DOS application windowing product called TopView. With IBM still the dominant PC seller, Microsoft would have to market Windows directly to IBM PC users. It would be the first time the company sold an OS level product directly to end-users (unless you count the Apple SoftCard, a hardware card that enabled Apple II users to run CPM-80 applications on their Apple IIs, which I had also previously managed). Since I had been the product manager that had the most experience with marketing technically oriented products through retail channels (rather licensed to PC vendors), Ballmer thought the job might be a good fit. In addition, he pointed out that since Windows was intended to expand the appeal of PC through its easier-to-use graphical user interface, it should appeal to my more end-user product experience and interests.”

More info: The Secret Origin of Windows