36 years ago, Microsoft became a hardware company by making a device for the Apple II

While Microsoft is best known as one of the largest, most powerful software companies in the world, here’s a bit of trivia about the company.

It actually announced its first hardware product 36 years ago, on April 2, 1980, reports Marcel Brown at This Day in Tech History.

The product was a computer card for the Apple II computer. Open up the Apple II, put the card in and it allowed the Apple II to run software on a different, alternative operating system known as CP/M. This allowed Apple II users to buy software built for CP/M machines, including running a word processing program called WordStar, not made by Microsoft.

“At one point, the SoftCard product will bring in about half of Microsoft’s total revenue. It will be discontinued in 1986 as CP/M’s popularity waned,” writes Brown.

As Apple just celebrated its 40th anniversary on April 1, it’s interesting to consider that Microsoft has been in the hardware business for almost as long.

Microsoft SoftCard for Apple II AdMicrosoftMicrosoft SoftCard ad for Apple II Ad from May, 1982

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