Articles, Career Development

Career Development: Examining Microsoft and its Impact

Examining Microsoft and its Impact

By: Denise N. Fyffe


Computer technology has saturated the framework of our culture. It influences the approach of people in communication, the way they learn, and the way they do business. The ability to use computer technology effectively has become a distinct advantage in school and work. As computer technology has become a crucial element in educational and vocational advancement, concerns have grown that disparities in access to such technology limit the opportunities for many.

Technology reshapes society.

In that power, it must unavoidably impact the collective institutions of society. Social institutions are like other social constructs — they exist because they fulfill some purpose for the population.

If the introduction of technology into a society changes the needs of the population or alters the availability of the institution to perform the function, then the institution itself is affected, either by altering its form or by disappearing altogether.

History of Microsoft

Bill Gates left Harvard University and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems was located, and founded Microsoft there. The company’s first international office was founded on November 1, 1978, in Japan.

Steve Ballmer joined the company in 1980 and would later succeed Bill Gates as CEO.

The company restructured in 1981, to become an incorporated business in its home state of Washington (with a further change of its name to “Microsoft, Inc.”). As part of the restructuring, Bill Gates became president of the company and Chairman of the Board, and Paul Allen became Executive Vice President.

Microsoft’s first operating system was Xenix, released in 1980 and the Unix variant would become home to the first version of Microsoft’s word processor, Microsoft Word. It became prominent for its concept of “What You See Is What You Get”, or WYSIWYG, as well as several features including the ability to display bold text, of which it was the first application to do so. However, the DOS operating system brought the company its real success.

By 1983, Microsoft created a home computer system, which contained its own version of the DOS operating system, entitled MSX-DOS; this became influentially accepted in Japan and Europe. Microsoft used its position to dominate the home computer operating system market. It began licensing its operating system for use on non-IBM PC clones and called this version of the operating system MS-DOS (short for Microsoft Disk Operating System).

By marketing MS-DOS aggressively to manufacturers of IBM-PC clones, Microsoft rose from a small player to one of the major software vendors in the home computer industry.


Microsoft Inc is an international company worth billions of dollars. They are involved in several industries. They are computer software, publishing, research and development, television, and video games. They employ 63,564 employees in eighty-five countries and regions which develop, manufacture, license, and support a wide range of software products for computing devices.

They have numerous products that include Microsoft Office, Microsoft Windows, MSNBC, MSN Hotmail, MSN Messenger, Microsoft Visual Studio, Windows Server System, Systems Management Server, and Xbox. As of 2005 Microsoft’s revenue, operating income, and net income are estimated at $39.79 billion USD, $14.56 billion USD, and $12.25 billion USD.

Microsoft began introducing its most prominent office products. Microsoft Works, an integrated office program that combined features typically found in a word processor, spreadsheet, database, and other office applications, saw its first release as an application for the Apple Macintosh towards the end of 1986. Microsoft Works would later be sold with other Microsoft products including Microsoft Word and Microsoft Bookshelf, a reference collection introduced in 1987 that was the company’s first CD-ROM product.

Later, on August 8, 1989, Microsoft would introduce its most successful office product, Microsoft Office. Unlike the model of Microsoft Works, Microsoft Office was a bundle of Microsoft’s other office separate productivity applications, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and so forth. Ultimately, Microsoft Office became the governing business suite, with a market share far exceeding that of its competitors.

In March 1992, Microsoft released Windows 3.1 along with its first promotional campaign on TV; the software sold over three million copies in its first two months on the market. By 1993, Windows had become the most widely used GUI operating system in the world. Up until 1995, Microsoft was a business-oriented company. However, in August 1995, it released a new version of its flagship software, Microsoft Windows 95, with a completely new user interface, including a novel start button; more than a million copies of Microsoft Windows 95 were sold in the first four days after its release. The Microsoft Network homepage, one of the most visited websites on the Internet.1998 was another big year for Microsoft with several big events taking place, not the least of which was Steve Ballmer being appointed president of Microsoft, with Bill Gates remaining as Chair and CEO.

Microsoft released an update to the consumer version of Windows, Windows 98 which came with Internet Explorer 4.0.

On February 2000, Microsoft released an update to its business line of software in Windows 2000; some thought it was a major enhancement over previous versions. Windows Millennium Edition (Windows ME) was released on September 2000. Widely regarded as one of the most unstable operating systems Microsoft had ever produced. Microsoft released Windows XP in 2001.

XP was the first to require Microsoft Product Activation, an anti-piracy mechanism that requires users to activate the software with Microsoft within 30 days. Microsoft released Windows Vista (formerly known as ‘Longhorn’) in the second half of 2006.

They have since gone on to release so many other products and services.


Computer technology has permeated the fabric of our society. Computer technology affects the way people communicate, the way they learn, and the way they do business. The ability to use computer technology effectively has become a distinct advantage in school and work. As computer technology has become a crucial element in educational and vocational advancement, concerns have grown that disparities in access to such technology limit the opportunities for many.

The effects of information technology, especially Microsoft products, have been to speed up the processes of globalization in the world economy.  Three interdependent core areas of the world economy have emerged – North America, Europe and East Asia. The rise of information technology is also linked to the development of a global currency market, based in the three world cities of London, New York, and Tokyo, and the rise of financial services industries which are also based there as well.

There is a dramatic and ever-increasing practice of software piracy.

This is a big problem in a world that is based around computers and the software that runs on them. Product activation is one measure implemented by Microsoft to minimize this practice. Microsoft really had no choice but to add this into their software as they, especially Microsoft Windows, might be the most pirated software on the Internet. Even with these new countermeasures within hours of Windows XP, cracks, and pirated versions were already on the Internet.

Microsoft’s technology effect on commerce deals with the economic and commercial consequences of the technology. The impact of technology on the commercial aspect of human culture is a major one. Most technological changes begin in the economic realm. Technology is a key factor in supporting and developing an economy, in securing and maintaining jobs for the population, and most certainly in determining the level of economic welfare experienced by the members of society. We now realize that the career sections of the newspapers are proliferated with requests and stipulations for jobs, one such being the knowledge and proficiency in using Microsoft Windows or office Tools. The changes that have taken place in the business world reach far beyond the immediate impact anticipated

Not only has Microsoft technology impacted our everyday knowledge of reality, but there exists the reality of Wall Street. Microsoft is worth billions of dollars. This makes it like honey to the bear, where it attracts major investments. These investments, stocks, bonds, etc. help to build and stabilize a country’s economy. This company, as mentioned, employs over 65,000 people, therefore job creation is a major benefit. These individuals also affect the livelihood of other people around them.

An entirely new industry had been born in the form of the microprocessor, a stepchild of the larger computer industry available only to big businesses with big dollars to buy big computing power. New skills and new opportunities for employment have come about as a result. The expansion of the computer market and proliferation of microcomputers into the mainstream of American life have increased the ability of the homemaker to run a household effectively; shop and cook more efficiently; to learn about the true nature of family finances, and create part-time productive jobs, and for a host of other things. Microsoft has taken advantage of this reality, as a large majority of these computers contain any number of Microsoft products. These products are utilized by the child attending school or even the retired grandparent seeking a part-time stay-at-home job.

Briefly, the extent to which technology affects social systems has to do with basic patterns among social groups and the changing patterns of needs and need fulfillment resulting from technological change. When the Industrial Revolution came about and particularly when the industrialization of America took place in the last century and the first half of the present century, several social factors changed. Many of these changes impacted not only those directly involved in the process but also those who chose not to be involved in the industrial boom. This led to people congregating in cities and major towns resulting in overpopulation and other negative effects. Now with the onslaught of technology, and more specifically the ease of use of Microsoft products, people can stay from anywhere in the world and perform job functions. There are programs such as MSN Messenger and MSN Hotmail that allow people to transcend time and space boundaries.

Technology reshapes society. In that capacity, it must necessarily impact on the social institutions of society. Social institutions are like other social constructs — they exist because they fulfill some purpose for the population. If the introduction of technology into a society changes the needs of the population or alters the availability of the institution to perform the function, then the institution itself is affected, either by altering its form or by disappearing altogether.

Some examples will clarify this point. For example, education is in the throes of technological change. Several years ago, it was never a part of the curriculum to study programming and learn the use of applications. However, now students must learn even from the primary and secondary levels how to manipulate and utilize Microsoft Office, and programming languages such as Microsoft’s VBScript.

The “government” of a nation will be comprised of many varied institutions. However, developments in information technology have helped governments to improve their “service” to their citizens. Many use programs such as Microsoft Access, Excel, and other Microsoft Business tools which have enabled the governments of various countries to collate and monitor statistical information that they can use to combat fraud and manage the economy in a more informed way.

Governments also have had to have renewed care towards their sensitive information. The proliferation of Internet technologies has led to leaks of important and sensitive information. Hackers and other ‘computer terrorists’ have made it their point of duty to vandalize and upset privacy and basic work functions. Programs by Microsoft are regularly targeted by them. These hackers find holes and weaknesses in the software and either take the information or destroy the functionality of the software.

Due to the nature of news and media organizations, information technologies have relevance to them. As noted earlier “Information technology is the technology used to store, manipulate, distribute or create information”. News and media organizations are intimately acquainted with each of these elements of information technology.

For example, MSNBC is another of Microsoft’s products that provides news and other information 24 hours a day. Given the situation thirty years ago the developments that we have seen have enabled the news and media organizations to access more people, they have a wider audience. The audience, however, now has a wider, global choice. News reports can be received that highlight many different sides of an international conflict, for example, more than was possible before. The relative cheapness of being able to publish information on the Internet for example means that virtually anyone can publish information accessible anywhere in the world Developments such as the Internet and satellite television have created new medium and audiences through which and to which these organizations can disseminate their information. Persons can now use tools such as MSN Messenger to listen to music and access weather, news, and even stock market information.


Technology, specifically Microsoft applications, has become a major part of daily life. In education, commerce, education, and many other economic ventures Microsoft has become a dominating factor. Over 65, 000 persons are directly employed by them. Not to mention the countless others who make their living by using its applications. Its impact is felt all over the world as it is one of the most successful international companies.

Bill Gates is considered one of the richest men alive and he continues to grow richer. It is one of the biggest inventions which makes Microsoft technologies our modern-day ‘sliced bread’.


  1. Globalization and information technology: Castells and The Information Age. Retrieved from
  2. (2006). Microsoft, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from
  3. The Impact of technology on Society, Grassroots commitment to learning. Retrieved from
  4. Meadowcroft, B., (2005). The Impact of Information Technology on Work and Society. Retrieved on April 3, 2006, from




Check out her book The Caribbean Family

The family is the genesis of all societies. Every culture has its distinct rules by which a family is governed, and the Caribbean family is no exception. Those rules differ within each group; for the Indians, Chinese, and Africans. Making up most of the population in the Caribbean, African families have spawned several sub-units or types; some of which are unique to the African culture. This book explores each family type and their history within the Caribbean.

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