Person of the Year
Brad Silverberg and the Windows 95 team
THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT WINDOWS 95 bas attracted more attention than
any other software product. It seemed like much of the PC industry spent the first eight months of this year doing nothing but waiting for its arrival.
If it got here a lot later than many people had hoped. it was in part because of the many contradictory demands on the product. On one hand, Windows 95's core vision was to take the features of advanced operating systems, such as true 32-bit applications, multitasking, and multithreading, and bring them to the mainstream PC market. On the other, Windows 95 needed to be as compatible as possible with a huge installed base of 16-bit applications and legacy device drivers. Just as important for its ultimate success, it had to work credibly and perform comparably with Windows 3.1 on a modest hardware platform.
Given ail these goals, just getting the operating system out the door was a major achievement. But the Windows 95 team delivered a product that not only met our basic expectations for a new operating system but went well beyond them.
The credit goes to Brad Silverberg, senior vice president of Microsoft's Personal Systems Division, and to the rest of the Windows 95 team. Since the project started in 1992 as Chicago, it went through numerous changes, from the addition of features such as Plug and Play to the creation of a slick new
user interface. best symbolized by the Start button in the lower left hand corner of the screen.
Silverberg and his lead developers, beaded by David Cole and John Ludwig, spearheaded the effort of creating the product, adding the features, and making the necessary trade-offs between new features and compatibility.
Other members of the team were responsible for testing the product and writing documentation. General manager Brad Chase oversaw the phenomenal marketing effort, which seemed at times to surprise even the most laid-back Microsoft veterans.
Silverberg, who came to Microsoft in 1990 after a long stint at Borland to head the personal systems division was responsible for overseeing ail these groups and pulling them ail together to create Windows 95.
From the time Chicago was first publicly announced in late 1993 until Windows 95 shipped in August of this year, every change was scrutinized and examined, not only internally but by the press and tens of thousands of beta users.
Caught between the need to push the product out as soon as possible and the need to make it as stable and compatible as possible, Silverberg did a phenomenal job of pick mg the right trade-offs. At the end of the day, the development team was able to ship an operating system that lived up to the original vision.
132 PC MAGAZINE DECEMBER 19, 1995
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