Microsoft Windows, developed and marketed by Microsoft, is the predominant operating system of the PC platform. Its competitors include Google's Chrome OS and Apple's macOS (and more recently iPadOS).
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates visited and licensed technology from Xerox PARC, as Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs had done. Jobs also invited Bill Gates to preview the pre-release development of the Macintosh in 1983. However, Jobs had already been forced out of Apple by the time Microsoft released Windows 1.0 in November 1995. It was initially running as a shell on top of MS-DOS, Microsoft's existing PC operating system, but would eventually replace it.
After Microsoft released Windows 2.0 with a GUI that was more similar to the Mac, Apple Computer, under then-CEO John Sculley, filed a federal lawsuit in 1988 against Microsoft for infringing on its operating system. However, U.S. federal judge William Schwarzer dismissed several charges against Microsoft in 1995 after discovering that Sculley had signed off on a deal on November 21, 1985 that had licensed parts of Macintosh technology to Microsoft. After Apple co-founder Steve Jobs returned to the company in December 1996, he negotiated an end to the lawsuits with Microsoft and agreed to cross-license technology between the two companies in exchange for Microsoft's commitment to continue developing software such as Microsoft Office for the Mac and an investment of $150 million in Apple non-voting stock to help keep it out of bankruptcy.
- Windows 1.0 — November 20, 1985
- Windows 2.03 — December 9, 1987
- Windows 2.11 — March 13, 1989
- Windows 3.0 — May 22, 1990
- Windows 3.1 — April 6, 1992
- Windows NT 3.1 — July 27, 1993
- Windows NT 3.5 — September 21, 1994
- Windows NT 3.51 — May 30, 1995
- Windows 95 — August 24, 1995
- Windows NT 4.0 — August 24, 1996
- Windows CE 1.0 — November 16, 1996
- Windows 98 — June 25, 1998
- Windows 2000 — December 15, 1999
- Windows Me — June 19, 2000
- Windows XP — August 24, 2001
- Windows Vista — January 30, 2007
- Windows 7 — October 22, 2009
- Windows Phone — October 21, 2010
- Windows 8 — October 26, 2012
- Windows 8.1 — October 17, 2013
- Windows 10 — July 29, 2015
- Windows 11 — October 5, 2011
- Today in Apple history: Microsoft gets sued for ripping off Mac OS by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac. 2019-03-17.
- Microsoft's relationship with Apple by Christoph Dernbach, Mac History. 2011-01-30. Updated 2020-08-26.
- Today in Apple history: Apple signs damaging deal with Microsoft by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac. 2020-11-21.
- Windows 11 available on October 5 by Aaron Woodman, Microsoft. 2021-08-31.
- Boot Camp, for natively launching Windows on an Intel-based Mac.
- Parallels, for launching a virtualized Windows machine on a Mac with Intel or Apple Silicon.
- Virtual PC, for launching a virtualized Windows machine on a PowerPC-based Mac.
- Windows Migration Assistant, for moving user content from a PC to Mac.
- Microsoft Windows at Microsoft
- Move your data from a Windows PC to a Mac at Apple Support (2021-10-25)
- Older Software Downloads: DOS-Windows Software (2001-07-17, archived 2001-08-01)
- Microsoft Windows at the Adobe Wiki
- Microsoft Windows at the Microsoft Wiki
- Microsoft Windows and List of Windows versions at Wikipedia
- Intel Macs can't run Windows 11 without this workaround by Wesley Hillard at AppleInsider (2021-06-25)