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Bill Gates and Paul Allen wanted to start a business using their skills as computer programmers. They founded Microsoft in 1972 and entered the OS business in 1980 with their version of Unix called XenIX.

Microsoft released Windows on November 20, 1985, as a graphical extension of MS-DOS, even though they had been working together on OS/2 since 1983. In 1990, Microsoft released the Microsoft Office Suite, which included separate programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel. Microsoft launched Windows 3, which featured streamlined user interface graphics and protected mode capabilities for the Intel 386 processor. Both Office and Windows became dominant and played an important role in the mainstreamization of computing, but also in the commoditization of hardware manufacturing.

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