What did Microsoft's first computer mouse look like? It was created exactly 40 years ago (photos)

May 3, 2023  12:20

The world's first computer mouse was created by Apple on December 9, 1968. But 40 years ago, on May 2, 1983, Microsoft released its first mouse, helping to popularize this device.

This is what Microsoft's first computer mouse looked like.

Microsoft-first-mouse-1.png (683 KB)

The creator of the computer mouse was Douglas Engelbart, who also created the graphical user interface, hypertext, the text editor, and even online group conferencing.


He developed the first prototype of the mouse in 1964. The patent application called the device an "XY position indicator for a display system." Engelbart's mouse was made of wood, with a circuit board inside, two small wheels at the bottom, and a button at the top. The cord, unlike a modern mouse, was not in the front, but behind, and interfered with the user's hand.


In 1967, the mouse lost its wooden case and the first plastic mouse appeared.

And in 1968, Engelbart presented a computer mouse with an encoder: it had five keys (with 31 key combinations) and was made of white plastic. This is what it looked like.


On March 21, 2023, a mouse with this design was sold at auction for $178,936.

Microsoft's mouse, which appeared in 1983, was also plastic, had two green buttons, which were replaced by gray in the second version, and an InPort ISA interface that required an expansion card to be installed in the computer. Instead of two wheels, as in Engelbart's design, the Microsoft mouse used a steel ball.

Back in 1973, this design was first introduced by Xerox PARC employee Bill English, who developed a design called the "Ball Mouse". This is what his mouse looked like.


The trackball mouse idea was later used by both Apple and Microsoft.



The first Microsoft mouse went on sale in May 1983, but mass sales of this device began in September. It cost $195 at the time. It is noteworthy that Microsoft made 100,000 units of the first mouse, but only 5,000 were sold.

The era of development and release of computer mice by Microsoft seems to be over. On April 29, 2023, the company announced that it would no longer manufacture mice, keyboards, and webcams under its brand name. Instead, Microsoft plans to focus on accessories for the Surface brand of computers.

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