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Bruce Barnett wrote:

...
They were not "word software packages"--see
http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/pc/pc_8.html

Would have been if it had been true...at that time it was <far> more expensive to produce the hardware than you're imagining plus there was the need to amortize development costs over a relatively small market. There were <not> millions of potential buyers at the cost even though it was a significant drop from the dedicated hardware systems that preceded the DisplayWriter.
I can't recall precisely the trade name(s) for the earlier IBM systems that preceded the DisplayWriter, but we had two where I worked in the late 70s as we had a DOE "Q" clearance and they were the only system qualified by DOE as secure (w/o building a completely enclosed facility which was totally impractical). They rest of the company was using VAXen w/ a <very> expensive word-processing software package. That was something like $500k for the VAX and I don't recall for the software but it made $18k look like chump-change. Those IBM systems were far more expensive than the DisplayWriter, but well worth the price considering the alternative was an IBM Selectric or equivalent. A search of the IBM archive site didn't locate one of them although I'm sure a more general search would uncover some history buff who's got all the data on them. But the cost reduction from the previous systems plus smaller form factor made them attractive. But, we couldn't use them as they didn't pass the DOE "Q" requirements for emanations.
As Swingman says, persepective (or lack thereof) is everything in evaluating what was/wasn't value...
Sidelight-- Our office was directly across the street from DOE regional headquarters and one of demonstrations they would provide outside contractor security officers was a demonstration of eavesdropping. They would bring us in to a conference room and put a display screen up on the wall and have a typist in a remote location (on occasion actually our office) type a letter. The characters would pop up on the screen as she typed w/ about a 80-90% accuracy rate, plucked out of the ether by their listening devices as the were displayed on her CRT. Various agents were picked up over the years outside the DOE facilities w/ foreign versions of similar equipment (which were not as capable, but certainly capable enough to be able to get the gist of what was being typed).
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Okay. I know about the Wang, and other systems out there. I also used Interleaf, which did cost $18,000 and ran on a $15,000 computer, like the Apollo Domain, or the Sun Workstation. Nit pick on the words if you want. That's not the point.
Swingman said:

1) The cost of computers were dropping thanks to IBM ($3000 instead of $20000) 2) The number of users was increasing (millions instead of thousands) 3) Word processing was becoming cheaper (Word Star came out in 1977, Word Perfect came it in 1979) 4) Visicalc came out in 1979
How can you claim that "thanks to Microsoft" you don't have to pay $18,000 for word processing?
It was happening anyway, and the technology was NOT developed by Microsoft, but by others. Microsoft didn't even develop MS-DOS. They bought it. If Microsoft never existed, we would still have cheap software.
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Probably _better_ software, too...
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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wrote:

But would we have a standardized operating system to run it?
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Since when has MickeySoft ever cared about standards?
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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wrote:

When you set 'em, rather than follow 'em, it makes a difference.
I suffered, as all we old farts did, through hardware and software incompatibilities for a long time. The devil you know....
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"Doug Miller" wrote in message

When is the last time you had a problem finding a hardware driver that actually worked, and who do you think drove the "standards" so that it is no longer the monumental struggle it once was to get a peripheral to work with different hardware and OS's?
How soon we forget ...
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Boy I really wanted to avoid this stupid thread but this one is just too much to stay out of it.
MS really drives standards huh? You mean like, for example, technologies like Universal Serial Bus (USB) that they forced down the throat of every PC mfr in late 1994 and 1995 (long before the hardware was even tested and there was no software for it) and they couldn't come up with useful drivers until 1998? Meanwhile, the BEST and still the BEST implementation of USB came from Apple for the MAC and Apple wasn't even part of the WinTel duopoly. USB power management STILL doesn't work on Wintel boxes while iMacs have been able to wake up from a USB mouse move since day one.
And how about networking. You could plug two or more Apple systems together and they just worked years (maybe even a decade) before a Windows box and you didn't have to worry about DHCP or DNS or network driver levels or any other s**t.
These guys don't know about standards. They only know how to force stuff on the consumer and if it's not quite ready, WTF, who cares? They'll just end up selling another version of their OS that supposedly fixes the s**t that wasn't working in the previous version with no accountability.
takes a deep breath, looks around, and sheepishly climbs off his soapbox...
TWS
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"TWS" wrote in message
<perspective challenged diatribe snipped>

As well you should.
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If you want to defend MS as the great promoter of standards then I suggest you bring some facts to the table. Until then keep your shallow viewpoint to yourself.
As one who has the scars and continues to receive wounds from this supposed purveyor of "Standardized" technologies I will be happy to engage in a conversation on the matter fact for fact. Did you attend the USB standardization meetings? Were you part of the back door dialogs where the MDA (Marketing Discount Agreement) was the argumentum ad baculum to convince sincere technologists to support flawed proposals?
We have what we have because of marketing savvy and marketing force. Let's not get carried away giving any credit beyond that. It is an insult to those who sincerely tried to reach industry standards consensus.
TWS
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If everyone around here did that, the Wreck wouldn't last a week.
I think of Billy Gates as the Otto von Bismarck of consumer/small business technology.
He took a polyglot group of self directed principalities and made them speak a common language - essentially by using the brute force of the marketplace.
Still, it amounts to a federated form of government v. the monarchical style of Apple. And we know from history which form is thought to be the most efficient.
The result is that we have a lingua franca that enables us to do business with each other as transparently as possible. So, I will continue to pass around my Excel spreadsheets and Word docs and happily go about my business without fear of being misunderstood.
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 (webpage)
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Tom Watson wrote:

I hesitate to disagree with someone whose illustrious namesake was my boss for many years, but Microsoft's attitude to standards was (and probably still is) quite simple : attend the meeting and if everyone agrees to do it MS's way then fine, it becomes a standard. If not MS goes away and does things its own way and to hell with the rest of the world. More often than not, MS's way was NOT the best way.
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wrote:

It's worse than you think - my full name is Thomas J. Watson Jr.
As to what is best - it is often necessary in business to simply move forward. In fact, that may be the essence of leadership - moving forward.
The concept of what is best can be, and often is, discussed ad nauseam.
Business is, like politics, the art of the possible.
Microsoft did not enter into a position of hegemony by being the best engineers and designers. They got there by being the best business people.
The benefits to someone like me are that I can count on sending an Excel sheet to China and not worry about them being able to open it. I can send a Word document to Germany without any fear of incompatibility.
If the standards are de facto rather than de jure, and if they are evolving, rather than fixed - so be it. The marketplace will continue to define what is acceptable and smart businesses will continue to address the concerns of the marketplace in the best way possible at the time.
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 (webpage)
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"Tom Watson" wrote in message

You're simply amazing, Tom. Well said, succinct, and impossible to argue with ... although some fool will undoubtedly try.
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I'm guessing your old man wasn't the one that worked for the famous NCR company who later took "another" job at a new company ????
http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/history/decade_1910.html
Tom Watson wrote:

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Tom, as others have stated, you have made your point clearly and succinctly and, I might add, without personal assaults or misrepresentations of someone else's position. You may want to remind me again that these methods are part of the wreck 'process' but it is refreshing to see a change from that behavior on occasion.
I said at the outset I should have stayed out of this discussion because it is akin to the debate on why we have HF tools. We have MS software and HF tools for the same reason - its what the market is willing to buy without concern for the practices that produced those products or where rewarding those practices will lead us in the future. Debating the MS issue is the same as whining about the decline of woodworking tool quality. Into the kill filter it goes...
Tom
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spake:

If you were concerned with the practices which go on behind the scenes of big business, you'd never buy another processed item again, from toothpaste to TP to bread to noodles to shoes, and everything between. Big business has -always- been fraught with nastiness.
Best of luck, Tom.
--
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than Christianity has made them good." --H. L. Mencken
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The converse may not be true in the future (i.e. if the person in China uses pirated software).
See the Trusted Computing FAQ
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/users/rja14/tcpa-faq.html
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Tom Watson wrote:

Gawd! You don't do meetings in black limos, do you? :)

or the illegal...

or the ones that got away with murder...

continue
How true. The only bit I beg to differ with is: if something is a "de facto standard" and it keeps evolving, then it is not a standard. It's a monopoly. Although of course it may remain de facto. The only reason you can send your Exel files to China and your Word documents to Germany and be assured of them being opened is that those two products are a monopoly. Not a standard. There is a difference. There is no such thing as a "de facto standard" in IT, it's an invention of the 80s.
And oh! yes: in China, probably you'd have a problem with the Exel file: they are going Linux and open software in a big way.
But I agree with you 100%: the marketplace defines what is acceptable and the smart supply companies go with that. Best or worse is highly relative in such a de-regulated environment. Is it good? Dunno, but it seems to be working.
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... but they'll most likely use sotware that will be able to read & write recent-version Excel-formatted files.
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