Those things pre-date Microsoft. The Apple ][ is probably the first
mainstream example in the PC field. IBM System/360 is probably the first
example in computing, in general.
Microsoft, however, has been the best advocate of this strategy and by far
the biggest beneficiary.
Actually, I had a valid, and authorized, senior moment when I was trying to
remember the terminology for the real impetus, IMO, in the advent of the
personal computer a la "cheaper hardware": "non-proprietary" hardware.
Something Apple has certainly never been guilty of, and certainly not IBM in
the 360 series, which was not "personal computing" by any yardstick.
But, I may well have wrongly assumed that the discussion was about the PC
and its hardware/software/OS.
Microsoft. I said as much in another post.
That said, they didn't have anything to do with the price or
availabiliy of the hardware. I also doubt that the marginal difference
between Integer BASIC and Applesoft was what made or broke the Apple ][.
Going back, Microsoft was founded in reaction to the avaibility of cheap
hardware (in the form of the Altair 8800).
The fact that a company named Ecosoft managed to put a fullblown K&R C
compiler on a 64K CP/M machine still boggles my mind. Everyone else was
offering subsets. I could develop software for a big machine on my
little S100 bus system.
And yes, they even had software floating point.
Ahhhhh the good old days... The Displaywriter took over
from the "Mag Card Composer", which was a IBM Selectric
with mag storage and other fancy features... It went
for well over 10K as I recall.
I htink I'd say my first word processor was a KayPro in '82, and it
cost something like $2800...but didn't have a thing on it supplied by
MS, that I am able to recall. OS was cp/m.
A place I worked in the late '60s had IBM word processors: what a gas
compared to our current machinery. Card punches and all.
Well, there was CP/M and DR-DOS.
Windows was layered on top of DS, and many people wanted to replace
DOS with DR-DOS because of it's advanced features.
But Microsoft illegally put hooks in their OS to detect Dr-DOS and
refuse to work if found. So the company went bankrupt. And when
Microsoft started making 90% profit, and abusing their monopolistic
power (they WERE convicted, remember), it was hard for any competitor
to catch up.
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$500 per message, and acknowledges the legality of this contract.
You're not under the mistaken impression that Microsoft wrote the original
DOS (PC-DOS, MS-DOS), are you? Hell, Gates _sold_ it to IBM, and *then* went
out and bought the rights from a company that "didn't know what they had".
(Yup, that's the chronology, he sold IBM something that he did _not_ own
the rights to; admittedly, he did "have reason to believe" he _could_ buy
those rights for a relative pittance. M$ has _always_ been 'marketing
driven', not a 'technology' company. And it _shows_ in their product line.)
Several better ones exist (now, _and_ then). OS/9, and QNX, just to name
a couple. Heck, MP/M 86 had features _years_ before M$ "invented" them.
The _only_ reason that MS "succeeded" was that Gates sold a product (that
he didn't *at*that*time* have the rights to) to IBM. And IBM's entry into
the 'personal computer' market "legitimized" it in the eyes of business
purchasers. The "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" mentality at work.
Alpha-Micro had better hardware, *and* better software. So did Tandy(!!)
Who's machines (like the 'Tandy 2000') were *far* superior to IBM's competing
offerings (and which they got to market _before_ the IBM products) -- industry
joke was that the "AT" in the "IBM PC/AT" stood for "Another Tandy".
Unfortunately, while Tandy's "x86" machines were 'MS-DOS' compatible, the
Tandy machines were not 'hardware compatible' "clones". Software that 'played
on the bare hardware' (rather than using the O/S services, or even BIOS calls),
didn't work on the Tandy machines.
Software writers did that _because_ the O/S services (provided by Microsoft),
and the BIOS code (as done by IBM) were *SO*BAD* that circumventing them was
-necessary- to get decent performance from the hardware. Tandy used _better_,
more capable, hardware in their 'business'-class machines, and with "better"
BIOS code, got _very_acceptable_ performance through those 'portable'
interfaces, w/o programmers having to play on the bare hardware.
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