• Please review our updated Terms and Rules here
  • Exhibitor application for VCF West 2022 is now open! If you are interested in exhibiting, please fill out the form here.
  • Here are the results of the VCF East 2022 Post Event Survey: Survey Results

MS-DOS

Erik

Site Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Messages
3,592
Location
San Jose, CA
[wiki]Category:Software[/wiki]
MS-DOS or the MicroSoft Disk Operating System is a series of Operating Systems produced by [wiki]Microsoft[/wiki] Corporation. MS-DOS was the initial product which was known for launching Microsoft to their current economic position. MS-DOS was the Operating System licensed with [wiki="IBM PC (5150)"]PC[/wiki] compatible computers, while the versions licensed by [wiki]IBM[/wiki] with their PC line was named PC-DOS.
[wiki="File:Dos4x.gif"]200px|thumb|top|MS-DOS 4.0 Running under [[Virtual PC]][/wiki]

Comment: Actually MS DOS stands for Mighty Simple Disk Operating System, a product of the Seattle Computer Company. Bill Gates bought the rights so he could pitch an x86 operating system to IBM Boca Raton.
 

smp

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2011
Messages
1,676
Location
Bedford, NH, USA
Comment: Actually MS DOS stands for Mighty Simple Disk Operating System, a product of the Seattle Computer Company. Bill Gates bought the rights so he could pitch an x86 operating system to IBM Boca Raton.

I thought that Seattle Computer Products (SCP) initially called their product QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System) and then later 86-DOS.

smp
 

Chuck(G)

25k Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Messages
38,854
Location
Pacific Northwest, USA
Basically, a "port" of CP/M 2.2 to the x86 world. Nothing at all like CP/M-86. It made sense from a business standpoint--you could convert most of your x80 assembly to 8086 automatically (even Intel had a product that ran on the MDS) and have a useful product in short order. Some early products (e.g. WordStar) did just that. And CP/M-80 had the lion's share of the base of personal computer application
software at the time.

DOS 1.x was a "flat" file system, just like CP/M (I don't think it implemented user areas), so it being FAT rather than CP/M style didn't bother most software applications.
 

SomeGuy

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
4,138
Location
Marietta, GA
In public media anyway, the term "MS-DOS" didn't seem to appear until shortly AFTER the release of IBM PC-DOS 1.0, when Microsoft decided it would license versions to other third party OEMs.
 

Agent Orange

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2008
Messages
6,069
Location
SE MI
I thought that Seattle Computer Products (SCP) initially called their product QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System) and then later 86-DOS.

smp

Quick DOS was a XTree type DOS file handler that I use(d) from Gazelle, which was the same outfit that marketed Back-It. It was commonly referred to as QDOS II or QDOS 3. Early 90's on those two.
 

smp

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2011
Messages
1,676
Location
Bedford, NH, USA
Quick DOS was a XTree type DOS file handler that I use(d) from Gazelle, which was the same outfit that marketed Back-It. It was commonly referred to as QDOS II or QDOS 3. Early 90's on those two.

Yes, and that's the difference. The Seattle Computer Products QDOS was from the late 70's. By the 90's, it had been gone a long time.

smp
 

KC9UDX

Space Commander
Joined
Jan 27, 2014
Messages
7,468
Location
Lutenblag
It's only been 5 years, so...

MS-DOS was the initial product which was known for launching Microsoft to their current economic position.

Wouldn't that have been MS BASIC? Or, if "current position" eliminates that, then, surely Windows 95 or XP.
 

griffk

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2015
Messages
200
Location
Seattle, WA / Los Angeles, CA
It's only been 5 years, so...



Wouldn't that have been MS BASIC? Or, if "current position" eliminates that, then, surely Windows 95 or XP.

Well, you can look at it several ways, but MS-DOS would have to be the product that "launched" MS into the big-boys club...
It provided them with the capital to start Windows dev, along with the business division's products.

95 & XP came after MS was already the leader in the SW biz. If you want a newer operating system to hang the laurel on, it would have to be Windows 3.1, which took off like a rocket!

gwk
 

krebizfan

Veteran Member
Joined
May 23, 2009
Messages
5,331
Location
Connecticut
The licensing of MS-DOS took a few years to take hold by which time MS applications division was well established. MS BASIC provided with the IBM PC was what allowed MS to expand like crazy. In the longer term, MS-DOS was a veritable cash generator which is surprising considering how everyone involved hoped someone else would take the losses expected in providing an 808x operating system.
 

griffk

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2015
Messages
200
Location
Seattle, WA / Los Angeles, CA
The licensing of MS-DOS took a few years to take hold by which time MS applications division was well established. MS BASIC provided with the IBM PC was what allowed MS to expand like crazy. In the longer term, MS-DOS was a veritable cash generator which is surprising considering how everyone involved hoped someone else would take the losses expected in providing an 808x operating system.

I think maybe you've got your timeline a little off... (From MS/Inventors.com):


  • June 25, 1981 Microsoft incorporates
  • August 12, 1981 IBM introduces its personal computer with Microsoft's 16-bit operating system, MS-DOS 1.0
  • November, 1983 Microsoft Windows announced
  • Novenber, 1985 Microsoft Windows version 1.0 released

  • February 26, 1986 Microsoft moves to corporate campus in Redmond, Washington
  • March 13, 1986 Microsoft stock goes public
  • April, 1987 Microsoft Windows version 2.0 released
  • August 1, 1989 Microsoft introduces earliest version of Office suite of productivity applications ******(a while after MSDOS, no?)*******
  • May 22, 1990 Microsoft launches Windows 3.0

The languages products, other than BASIC, were a loss leader until Visual Studio.

gwk
 

krebizfan

Veteran Member
Joined
May 23, 2009
Messages
5,331
Location
Connecticut
May 1981 was when MS hired Charles Simonyi. Multiplan was released about a year later; Word would be Oct 1983. Windows was underway by then as well. I am not sure when the first MS-DOS licensee was; Columbia Data Products was fairly early and would have brought in revenue in mid-1982. Sales of non-IBM MS-DOS equipped systems didn't overtake IBM PC until about 1986. Can't spend the license revenue before the licenses started selling.

Timeline from http://www.memecentral.com/mylife.htm
 

griffk

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2015
Messages
200
Location
Seattle, WA / Los Angeles, CA
May 1981 was when MS hired Charles Simonyi. Multiplan was released about a year later; Word would be Oct 1983. Windows was underway by then as well. I am not sure when the first MS-DOS licensee was; Columbia Data Products was fairly early and would have brought in revenue in mid-1982. Sales of non-IBM MS-DOS equipped systems didn't overtake IBM PC until about 1986. Can't spend the license revenue before the licenses started selling.

Timeline from http://www.memecentral.com/mylife.htm

Your point taken.

My point was that until Office was released and adopted, MS really didn't make much on applications. WordStar, and then WordPerfect, and Lotus 1-2-3 dominated the PC scene until the late 80's--all the time MS was developing and honing for the takeover; but certainly not "raking it in" on the office apps...

gwk
 

Chuck(G)

25k Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Messages
38,854
Location
Pacific Northwest, USA
Well, to be honest, I don't think anyone took Word or Multiplan very seriously until the advent of the Windows GUI. Before that Lotus 1-2-3 reigned supreme in spreadsheets and probably WordPerfect in PC wapros, l although there were plenty of also-rans). Novell in networks, definitely.
 

krebizfan

Veteran Member
Joined
May 23, 2009
Messages
5,331
Location
Connecticut
MS Word for DOS quickly moved into being the second place word processor, basically the choice for anyone that didn't like WordPerfect's interface. WordPerfect still had the advantages of being to market earlier, remaining quite fast, and that wonderful help line.

Multiplan was relentlessly mediocre: slow, lacking in features and not able to match Lotus's impressive add-on support.

MS did get a bit of notice for their Mac software. Mac Word was fast, easy and full of features. Excel was amazing. It was clear that once MS could bring that over to the wider PC market they would have some winners. Wasn't clear that Lotus and WordPerfect and Novell and Borland would all make a slew of blunders transforming MS from a relatively large software company surrounded by equal competitors into what they were 10+ years ago.
 

Moondog

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2015
Messages
195
Location
Michigan
Wordperfect was for awhile the preferred word processor for some government agencies, so if you did any business directly with a governmental agency, it was in your best interest to use the same software to assure they were receiving it in a form they could read. When I was doing IT work in nuclear power generation, several procedure writers kept using WP5.1 up until 10 or so years ago because of older forms and macros created with it.
 

griffk

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2015
Messages
200
Location
Seattle, WA / Los Angeles, CA
Wordperfect was for awhile the preferred word processor for some government agencies, so if you did any business directly with a governmental agency, it was in your best interest to use the same software to assure they were receiving it in a form they could read. When I was doing IT work in nuclear power generation, several procedure writers kept using WP5.1 up until 10 or so years ago because of older forms and macros created with it.

Yeah, WP was THE word processor at one time. I don't know EXACTLY how much market share they had, but it has to have been 80+ % by the late 80's.

Chuck(G) is right - Almost nobody took Multiplan seriously, at any time (vs Lotus 1-2-3), and Word wasn't terribly popular at all, in comparison to WP, until Win 3.1.

Microsoft's office applications only took off as a leader after Office was released and the Windows GUI was mature enough to be usable and stable. Before that, they were also-ran's, and MS made most of their $$ from OS licensing.

gwk
 

krebizfan

Veteran Member
Joined
May 23, 2009
Messages
5,331
Location
Connecticut
According to https://www.utdallas.edu/~liebowit/book/wordprocessor/word.html, WordPerfect peaked at just under 50% of the market in 1990. Pete Petersen in Almost Perfect gives WordPerfect a 30% share in 1987 compared to 16% WordStar, IBM 13%, and MS with 11%.

It took the development of email which could take attachments large enough to be formatted text to push groups of companies and outside writers to standardize on the same word processor. Before then, each company could be completely happy having its own unique stack of applications.
 

griffk

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2015
Messages
200
Location
Seattle, WA / Los Angeles, CA
MS Word for DOS quickly moved into being the second place word processor.

According to https://www.utdallas.edu/~liebowit/book/wordprocessor/word.html, WordPerfect peaked at just under 50% of the market in 1990. Pete Petersen in Almost Perfect gives WordPerfect a 30% share in 1987 compared to 16% WordStar, IBM 13%, and MS with 11%.

So even though I was off on WP by itself, the discussion was about MS Word, and if they only had 11%, my point is made. All others (with WP being the major one, had 89% of the market!)

Doesn't sound like Word was in second place to me...

gwk
 

Agent Orange

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2008
Messages
6,069
Location
SE MI
MS Word for DOS quickly moved into being the second place word processor, basically the choice for anyone that didn't like WordPerfect's interface.

What's not to like with WP? If you were an incidental hack typist, like me for example, 'reveal codes' possibly could save you from some overtime.
 
Top