It was 15 years ago that Microsoft had one of its most successful launches ever--introducing Windows 95. The company managed to get people to line up for hours to be among the first to get their hands on a copy.

The company paid to treat people to free newspapers in London, lighted the Empire State Building in Windows' colors, and draped Toronto's CN Tower with a 300-foot banner--all part of a massive $300 million ad campaign that accompanied the product's arrival.

Windows 95, which was separate from the company's business-oriented Windows NT product, added a number of features over its predecessors including better network support, the ability to send faxes (yes, there was a time when that was a big deal) along with basic audio recording, audio playback, and video playback tools. Features now thought of as core parts of Windows, such as the start menu and taskbar, also made their debut with Windows 95. Plus, it just looked a whole lot better graphically and was far more stable than past consumer versions of Windows.

Internet Explorer debuted around the same time, but was sold separately as part of Microsoft's Plus Pack for Windows 95. It was eventually bundled in directly with the operating system in an update to Windows 95 released the following year.

Full story: c|net