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Microsoft Home was a line of software applications and personal hardware products published by Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft Home software titles first appeared in the middle of 1993. These applications were designed to bring multimedia to Microsoft Windows and Macintosh personal computers. With more than 60 products available under the Microsoft Home brand by 1994, the company's push into the consumer market took off. Microsoft also announced at that time Microsoft Plus!, an add-on enhancement package for Windows, which was continued until the Windows XP era. The range of home software catered for many different consumer interests from gaming with Microsoft Arcade and Entertainment Packs to reference titles such as Microsoft Encarta, Bookshelf and Cinemania. Shortly after the release of Microsoft Windows 95, the company began to reduce the price of Microsoft Home products and by the rise of the World Wide Web by 1998, Microsoft began to phase out the line of software. Today, Microsoft Home products can still be found on eBay and Amazon.com every once in a while, and they are beginning to fetch collector prices. However, some of them are available for download (albeit illegally) from various Internet websites dealing with abandonware.

Contents

Titles

Microsoft Home produced software for all different uses and environments. The products were divided into five categories: Reference & Exploration, Entertainment, Kids, Home Productivity & Small Business Management, Sounds, Sights & Gear. The category in which the product was divided is identifiable by the package. Generally, Reference & Exploration products have a purple base color, Entertainment has a black base color, Kids has a yellow base color, Home Productivity & Small Business Management has a green color and Sounds, Sights & Gear products have a grey or red base color. Note that many applications were developed in conjunction with other reputable software and reference companies. For example, Microsoft Musical Instruments was developed with Dorling Kindersley.

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Reference & Exploration

Microsoft Home Reference products brought information to Multimedia Personal Computers - it was an effective way of presenting and exploring information before the World Wide Web became mainstream. These products were embellished with hyperlink navigation systems, which were relatively new at this time. Most of these products were released on CD-ROM, giving the software the ability to display high-resolution graphics and animations, and play high-quality waveforms and MIDI files. These products proved that personal computers would revolutionize the way that we find and explore information.

Name Year of First Release Retail Price when New
Microsoft Encarta '94 1994-2009 US$99.95/CAD$139.95
Microsoft Encarta Africana 1999
Microsoft Bookshelf '94 1994 US$69.95/CAD$99.95
Microsoft Cinemania '95 1995 US$59.95/CAD$79.95
Microsoft Automap Streets 1995
Microsoft Automap Road Atlas 1995
Microsoft Music Central 1996
Microsoft Complete Baseball 1994 US$49.95/CAD$69.95
Microsoft Complete NBA Basketball 1995 US$49.95/CAD$69.95
Microsoft Complete Gardening 1996
Microsoft Reader's Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide 1996
Microsoft Oceans 1995
Microsoft 500 Nations (North American Indian tribes and civilizations) 1995
Microsoft World of Flight 1995
Microsoft Ancient Lands 1994 US$59.95/CAD$79.95
Microsoft Dinosaurs 1993 US$59.95/CAD$79.95
Microsoft Dangerous Creatures 1994 US$59.95/CAD$79.95
Microsoft Dogs 1995
Microsoft Musical Instruments 1992 US$59.95/CAD$79.95
Microsoft Isaac Asimov's The Ultimate Robot 1993 US$59.95/CAD$79.95
Microsoft Art Gallery 1994 US$59.95/CAD$79.95
Microsoft Wine Guide 1995
Microsoft The Ultimate Frank Lloyd Wright: America's Architect 1994 US$59.95/CAD$79.95
Microsoft Composer Collection 1995 US$79.95/CAD$109.95
Microsoft Multimedia Mozart: The Dissonant Quartet 1992-1995 US$59.95/CAD$79.95
Microsoft Multimedia Beethoven: The Ninth Symphony 1992-1995 US$59.95/CAD$79.95
Microsoft Multimedia Schubert: The Trout Quintet 1992-1995 US$59.95/CAD$79.95
Microsoft Multimedia Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring 1992-1995 US$59.95/CAD$79.95
Microsoft Multimedia Strauss: Three Tone Poems 1992-1995 US$59.95/CAD$79.95
Microsoft BOB 1995 US$99.00/

Entertainment

In the early 1990s, games on personal computers generally ran on the now obsolete MS-DOS operating system. However, with the introduction of Microsoft Windows 3.1x in 1992, Microsoft Home published several entertainment applications that implemented the new technologies of Microsoft Windows. Furthermore, these applications encouraged the computer gamers of the time to migrate from MS-DOS to Microsoft Windows. This transition permitted better use of computer graphics, revolutionized game programming and resulted in a more realistic gaming experience. For example, Microsoft Windows Entertainment Pack Games have remained a classic for computer gamers, ever since their development in the early 1990s.

Name Year of First Release Retail Price when New
Microsoft Fury3 1995
Microsoft Deadly Tide (underwater fighting machines) 1995
Microsoft Flight Simulator 5.0 1993 US$49.95/CAD$64.95
Scenery Enhancements for Microsoft Flight Simulator Version 5.0:
  • Microsoft Caribbean
  • Microsoft Japan
  • Microsoft Paris
  • Microsoft New York
1995 US$34.95/CAD$49.95
Microsoft Flight Simulator 5.1 1995
Microsoft Golf Version 2.0 1995 US$49.95/CAD$69.95
Microsoft Golf Version 1.0 (Multimedia Edition) 1993 US$49.95/CAD$69.95
Microsoft Golf Championship Courses:
  • Mauna Kea Championship Course
  • Banff Springs Championship Course
  • Pinehurst Championship Course
1993 US$24.95/CAD$34.95
Microsoft Space Simulator 1995 US$49.95/CAD$64.95
(The Best of) Microsoft Entertainment Pack 1995 US$24.95/CAD$34.95
Microsoft Arcade 1993 US$34.95/CAD$44.95
Microsoft Return of Arcade 1998
Microsoft Revenge of Arcade
Microsoft Pinball Arcade 1998

Kids

Microsoft Home's software for kids was popular not only for home use, but also in school and educational institutions. Microsoft proved that the personal computer should not be daunting, but can be used by the whole family. Tying in with the TV series, Microsoft Scholastic's The Magic School Bus was a highly successful series that continued to be sold after Microsoft Home's kids range of software turned into a subsidiary called Microsoft Kids.

Name Year of First Release Retail Price when New
Microsoft Scholastic's The Magic School Bus:
  • Explores Bugs
  • Explores in the Age of the Dinosaurs
  • Explores Inside the Earth
  • Explores the Human Body
  • Explores the Ocean
  • Explores the Rainforest
  • Explores the Solar System
  • Explores the World of Animals
1994 US$49.95/CAD$69.95
Microsoft Rudyard Kipling's "How the Leopard Got His Spots" (a story from the Just So Stories for Little Children collection). 1995 US$49.95/CAD$69.95
Microsoft Paul Bunyan
Microsoft Gahan Wilson's The Ultimate Haunted House 1995 US$49.95/CAD$69.95
Microsoft Fine Artist 1993 US$49.95/CAD$69.95
Microsoft Creative Writer 1993 US$49.95/CAD$69.95
Ghostwriter Mysteries for Creative Writer 1995 US$19.95/CAD$29.95
P.J.'s Reading Adventures
Microsoft 3D Movie Maker 1995 US$49.95/CAD$69.95
Microsoft Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker 1996 US$49.95/CAD$69.95
Microsoft Explorapedia:
  • The World of People
  • The World of Nature
1995 US$49.95/CAD$69.95

Home Productivity & Small Business Management

Name Year of First Release Retail Price when New
Microsoft BOB 1995 US$99.00
Microsoft Great Greetings for Microsoft BOB 1995
Microsoft Money Version 3.0 1994 US$14.95/CAD$24.95
Microsoft Publisher Version 2.0 1993 US$99.95/CAD$139.95
Microsoft Publisher Design Packs:
  • Microsoft Publisher StyleLine Design Pack
  • Microsoft Publisher Design Pack
  • Microsoft Publisher Special Occasions Design Pack
1993? US$39.95/CAD$54.95
Microsoft Picture It!
Microsoft Home Publishing 1999
Microsoft Julia Child: Home Cooking with Master Chefs
Microsoft Works 3.0 for Windows US$99.95/CAD$139.95
Microsoft Works 3.0 for Windows on CD US$99.95/CAD$139.95
Microsoft Works 4.0 for Macintosh US$99.95/CAD$139.95
Microsoft Works and Bookshelf '94 US$99.95/CAD$139.95

Sights, Sounds & Gear

Name Year of First Release Retail Price when New
Microsoft Scenes Version 2.0
  • Sierra Club Wildlife Collection
  • Sierra Club Nature Collection
  • Undersea Collection
  • Sports Extremes Collection
  • Personal Collection
  • Outer Space Collection
  • Flight Collection
  • Hollywood Collection
  • Brain Twister/Stereogram Collection
  • Impressionist Collection
1994 US$24.95/CAD$34.95
Microsoft Natural Keyboard 1994 US$99.95/CAD$129.95
Microsoft Mouse 1993 US$64.95/CAD$84.95
Microsoft Windows Sound System Version 2.0 1995 US$59.95/CAD$84.95
Microsoft Home Mouse 1995 US$44.95/$59.95
Microsoft SoundBits
  • Microsoft SoundBits - Hanna-Barbera
  • Microsoft SoundBits - Hollywood
  • Microsoft SoundBits - Musical Instruments
1992-1994 US$24.95/CAD$34.95

Legacy

References

  • Microsoft Home Software Catalog Winter/Spring 1995 (from Microsoft The Ultimate Frank Lloyd Wright) 1194 Part No. 098-56862
  • Microsoft Knowledge Base

See also


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