Despite the popularity of Apple laptops and Google’s Chrome OS. Windows remains the dominant operating system for brand-new PCs. How did it get where it is today? On August 12, 1981, same day IBM introduced the PC. Microsoft released its Disk Operating System. It’s a standardized set of instructions and programs—PC DOS on that platform. And MS-DOS on compatibility—paved the way for Windows in Nov 1985.
Windows 1 was indeed a terrible operating system. How did Microsoft become the dominant operating system and defeat competitors like CP/M? That had been available since the mid-1970s? Like many struggles for dominance, the victor benefited from several fortunate breaks.
1. An argumentative gathering
Microsoft has no plans to develop its operating system. No, not at first. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, was contacted by IBM to develop a software system. The company’s proposed personal computer (PC) is based on Intel’s 8080 microprocessor. Gates recommended that IBM contact Gary Kildall, inventor of the CP/M operating system. The most widely used 8-bit disc operating system at the time.
The Pacific Grove, California, home of Digital Research, was a spacious Victorian. The company had over 20 employees and had $3.5 million in annual revenue. And was developing a 16-bit edition of its product.
The events that followed, however, would cause a 180-degree reversal in the discussion. When Gates heard that Kildall was about to be visited by several influential individuals, he sent word on the blower. Kildall had initially planned to meet with the IBM representatives personally. But another engagement had to take precedence. As a result, Dorothy, Kildall’s wife, business partner, and Gervaise Davis. The company’s attorney was left to contact IBM representatives on his behalf. There was no wow factor for IBM.
Disagreements were already bubbling to the surface before Kildall arrived. There was apprehension over IBM’s insistence on a stringent non-disclosure agreement. From Digital Research and IBM’s desire to license CP/M for a fixed cost. Rather than offering royalties. Kildall showed there and said he wanted to keep the CP/M moniker despite IBM’s objections. IBM left and hasn’t looked back since.
Instead, the business contacted Gates once more to organize a meeting in Florida. Microsoft provided an OS comparable to CP/M with the agreement. That IBM will pay royalties to Microsoft and enable Microsoft to keep ownership. Problematically, Microsoft did not have an operating system to provide. A contract in hand made that a nonissue.
2. A mother with a significant impact
Before discussing Microsoft’s subsequent actions, we must first address why IBM approached Bill Gates about developing an operating system. Indeed Microsoft was aware that CP/M was Digital Research’s brainchild and that it was Microsoft’s first OS.
Microsoft’s Z-80 SoftCard (a processor card that could be plugged into an Apple II to let it run CP/M) may have led IBM to assume incorrectly. Checkout https://perfectpcserver.com/ to learn more in detail about the PCs. The Redmond, Washington, company had some hand in creating the CP/M operating system. But maybe there’s some familial tie involved.
Mary Gates, Bill’s mom, was a pioneer in the business world. And the first female director of the First Interstate Bank of Washington. She was recently appointed to the United Way of America board. She spoke with the IBM chairman and fellow executive committee member, John R. Opel.
During talks over licensing an operating system. Opel recalled “Mary Gates’ son,” and IBM “took a bet by hiring Microsoft,” as The New York Times reported. To be more specific, though, where did they get that operating system?
3. Working the situation quickly and dirty
Tim Paterson, a Seattle Computer Products (SCP) employee, is the brains behind the Z-80 SoftCard. One of Paterson’s later works was a cheap clone of CP/M dubbed QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System). It became known simply as 86-DOS since it was optimized with Intel’s 8086 CPU.
Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, and Bill Gates heard about it and thought it might replace IBM’s desired operating system. When Microsoft first licensed the program in December 1980, it cost the company $25,000. They eventually paid $50,000 to purchase the program entirely. Microsoft licensed the OS to IBM without informing SCP, leading to a $1 million compensation awarded to SCP.
Nonetheless, Microsoft was already looking at the bottom line at this point. Since 86-DOS was rebranded as PC DOS for the IBM PC, it has proven relatively successful. Microsoft was also given the green light to market MS-DOS to 70 PC manufacturers.
As a result of Kildall’s displeasure with the new development, IBM and he eventually reached an agreement to avoid legal action. IBM’s 1981 personal computer (PC) featured CP/M-86 alongside PC DOS, but here’s the catch. The price of Digital Research’s operating system was $240. Gates’s alternative cost just $40, which was a steal. There’s no award for figuring out which direction folks traveled.
4. Heavily chowing down
DOS was built around commands, which were doomed to fail in the long run. Microsoft saw the need for a GUI and introduced Windows in 1983. The operating system debuted a few years later, built atop DOS.
It wasn’t the first of its kind. In the 1970s, Xerox began developing graphical user interfaces. And by 1984, the Apple Lisa & Apple Macintosh 128K had followed suit. Microsoft had initially proposed that Apple license the macOS to establish a personal computer standard. But Apple’s then-CEO, John Sculley, shot down the idea.
Digital Research did not take this lightly. Like Microsoft, it had software on the market by 1985 (under the name Graphical Environment Manager, or GEM). GEM was unique in that it supported both Intel x86 CPUs and Motorola 68000. And it eventually found a place on the Atari ST.
Jack Tramiel, who’d already purchased Atari in 1984, was unhappy with Apple. Because he planned to compete with the Macintosh by releasing a cheaper one, a Better-specced system with a user interface comparable to Apple’s. Apple filed a lawsuit against Digital Research because the company was afraid. That GEM would help other companies enter the PC industry at the expense of Apple.
Even though Sculley was furious after seeing Windows 1.0, Apple nevertheless supported Microsoft, which hurt Kildall’s firm to the point where it never recovered. Apple’s backing of its competitor’s products begs the question: why? The majority of Mac software revenue came from Microsoft programs. To gain confidence, Microsoft leased Mac’s graphical user interface. In return for an exclusive two-year period on Excel, and then launched Windows 2.0. Apple lost in court after accusing Microsoft of illegally copying 189 parts of the macOS.
5. Putting a human face on it
Despite popular belief, Microsoft’s main focus wasn’t on the Windows operating system. As a replacement for PC DOS, IBM commissioned Microsoft in 1985 to create OS/2. It was destined to be the most powerful operating system. And potentially software of all time, as Gates put it when the partnership deal was inked.
IBM wants higher authority. It didn’t like DOS because PC clone makers might use it to make operating system copies. OS/2, on the other hand, represented a fresh start. It was written specifically for the Intel 286 CPU and was aimed at a different category of Personal Computers. As a result, IBM would have complete ownership.
The process of development was everything from simple. While Microsoft did its best to fix the code, communication was slow and cumbersome. The original release in 1987 was text-based, inefficient with system resources, and light on valuable programs. But Gates still had an ace under his sleeve in case things didn’t go exactly as planned.
Following a dispute with DEC in October 1988, Microsoft poached Dave Cutler. Creator of the VMS operating system for DEC’s 32-bit processor VAX minicomputer. And offered to bring his staff along for the ride. Cutler developed OS/2 NT, a Microsoft-controlled portable OS that is backward-compatible with OS/2.