In pictures: The highs and lows of Microsoft technology

  • This is where it all started - the humble Windows 3.1. Compared to DOS, it was a Godsend for usability.

  • From the early days of Windows 3.1, right through to the current splendour of the Xbox 360 and Windows 7, Microsoft has released a lot of technology in its 35 years. Following are some of the best (and worst!) times for the vendor.

  • We'll leave you off with what it probably Microsoft's most controversial product: Internet Explorer. Reviled by many, used by default by many more, all hidden behind a humbe blue 'e'.

  • Vista. The less said the better.

  • Proving it's in the console race for the long haul, Microsoft then followed up with the much more powerful, but much less imaginatively-named "Xbox 360"

  • Thankfully, Microsoft redeemed itself in a big way with Windows 7.

  • Microsoft has also recently moved into the lucrative cloud space with Azure.

  • Of course, Microsoft isn't just about the operating systems. Taking a stab at the lucrative gaming market, the giant released the Xbox.

  • And then came Windows XP. The operating system was so good that people bent over backwards to use it in preference to...

  • Windows followed up with Windows 95. A far better looking operating system, Win '95 was great to use, until...

  • The Blue Screen of Death. I'm sure we all remember that one.

  • Let's not forget the vendor's various enterprise ventures. Windows Server has seen a number of releases over the years, this one is the 2008 edition.

  • Microsoft also took a crack at the MP3-player market with the Zune. A sleek little device, it never quite got the market penetration it deserved. But then, who can compete with Apple in that space?

  • Unfortunately, all that extra power didn't save people from the dreaded "red ring of death." Time to buy a new console...

  • Windows '98 was good value, too.

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