Microsoft's 10 Best Products Of All Time

gates and ballmer

Photo: Flickr

It seems like Microsoft can’t ever catch a break.The software giant is constantly ragged on and criticised, but if it wasn’t for Microsoft we wouldn’t have a lot of the modern computer conveniences we take for granted today.

When the company introduced its Surface last month, many panned it for trying to get into the hardware business. 

But Microsoft has put out some killer products, hardware included, over the last few decades. 

So while we’re just two months away from Windows 8 (early reviews have been mixed), Microsoft’s most important product in years, we decided to take a look at some other hits.

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse

The Arc Touch Mouse is one of Microsoft's excellently designed accessories. It curves for use and flattens for storage making the mouse easy to transport.

The Arc features a Bluetooth connection, long battery life, and precision scrolling.

Because of the Arc's stylish design it has won many awards and accolades.

Flight Simulator

Have you ever wondered what its like to pilot an aeroplane? Microsoft dreamed up a way to let users experience this amazing feat.

Flight Simulator was a series of programs that were marketed as video games. According to Wikipedia, 'Flight Simulator is one of the longest-running, best-known and most comprehensive home flight simulator programs on the market.'

As of 2009 (the game's 25th anniversary) Flight Simulator was the longest-running software product line for Microsoft. Flight Simulator predated Windows by three years.

Source: Wikipedia

Original Xbox

The original Xbox proved that Microsoft could create hardware and appeal to gamers.

Besides having exclusive titles like Halo, the original Xbox also introduced gamers to Xbox Live, which let gamers play against each other online.

The Xbox kicked off what it today one of the most successful divisions in Microsoft today.

Windows 95

Windows 95 was hugely successful. The operating system sold a record-setting 7 million copies in the first five weeks. 95 featured the first appearance of the Start menu, taskbar, and minimize, maximise, and close buttons on each window.

Windows 95 had built-in Internet support, dial-up networking, and Plug and Play capabilities that made it easy to install hardware and software.

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft Exchange Server

Microsoft Exchange Server was released in April 1993. It has since become an enterprise champion. The server is relied upon by millions of businesses as a secure way to manage email, calendars, and more.

Exchange's major features consist of email, calendars, contacts and tasks that work with Microsoft Outlook. Exchange also wirelessly syncs users email, calendar, contacts with major mobile devices and browser-based access to information.

Windows XP

Windows XP is probably Microsoft's most popular operating system to date. The OS was released in October 2001 and is still widely used today.

Windows XP 64-bit Edition was the first Microsoft operating system that used 64-bit processors designed for working with large amounts of memory. XP made projects such as movie special effects, 3D animations, engineering, and scientific programs possible.

Source: Microsoft

MS DOS

There is controversy surrounding MS DOS. Microsoft didn't actually create the software. Instead, the company purchased QDOS from Seattle Computer Products and put its own touch on the software. Microsoft specifically modified QDOS for IBM PCs and MS DOS was born.

The first edition, MS-DOS 1.0, was launched in 1982. The version shipped with IBM's PCs was called PC DOS. Although MS-DOS and PC DOS were initially developed in parallel by Microsoft and IBM, the two products eventually went their separate ways.

Source: Wikipedia

Microsoft Office

Office is one of Microsoft's most useful and popular products. Besides being an excellent productivity application, Office is extremely easy to develop for.

Office remains the go to productivity suite because any attempt to topple Office means declaring war on the army of in-house and third-party developers who have built their livelihoods around the suite's expanding library of automation and integration APIs.

In the meantime, we're eagerly waiting for Microsoft Office to finally hit tablets on Windows 8 and the iPad.

Source: InfoWorld.com

Windows 3.1

Windows 3.1 was a 16-bit operating system that laid the foundation for today's modern operating system.

3.1 debuted in 1992 and became the first version of Windows to be widely distributed with new PCs.

Windows 3.1 essentially stamped Microsoft's dominance and began the Golden Age of Windows.

3.1 introduced the organisation of programs, a dedicated file manager, true-type fonts, a built-in screen savers, minesweeper and solitaire, and a host of other improvements.

Source: PCWorld

Xbox 360/Kinect

The Xbox 360 built upon the success of the original Xbox. Xbox 360 competed directly with the Playstation 3 and stood its ground. As of April 2012 there have been 67.2 million Xbox 360s sold.

The game system introduced more storage, faster performance, and wireless controllers.

In addition the Kinect, which was introduced in 2000, has been hugely successful. Kinect is a new type of motion based controller that allows users to interact with their television through movement. The peripheral has spawned many imitators and sold over 18 million units.

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at research.businessinsider.com.au.