The history of the development of DOS

Posted on 1997-05-07
Last Modified: 2011-09-20
I have an assignment to write about history of Microsoft, and particularly about history of the development of DOS and its business aspects.
Your recommendations about relevant books or websites will be appreciated.
Question by:ilko

Expert Comment

ID: 1008942
Bill Gates' book "The road ahead" tells the story of Microsoft.

Author Comment

ID: 1008943
I would prefer to get not only one source of information.  Additionally, any Website where I can get such info would be better.

Thank you

Expert Comment

ID: 1008944
This is somewhat broad issue, then Altavista and search for "Microsoft AND History AND Development". usually someone else has allready done alot of the work for u.
 Good luck in thy quest.

Ps. I'm interested in the result of this assignment. It would be really nice to get back to u on this . Ds.

Accepted Solution

TimCaturaHouser earned 50 total points
ID: 1008945
As one of the folks who was around here (Seattle) and in the computer biz. when all this happened, I can give you a very unique insiight as to HOW Dos came into MS's hands.

Bill and his small gang had already sold BASIC to IBM. They (IBM) we're shopping for an OS for this expermental computer (later called the 5160, if I remember the model right). "Dashing" Don Eldgrich (check spelling of name) was leading the project.
(Later killed in the plane crash in TX). The king of the day was C/PM from Gary Kindell and Interglatic Digital Research. IBM went to see Gary and his wife. Gary missed them when IBM cam to his house. IBM was upset. They went back to Bill G. Bill said, sure, we got an OS (He didn't but....) Tim Patterson, of Seattle Computer Products did. He called it Gazelle DOS. It was basically a C/PM hack. He did this because C/PM wouldn't run on his $15,000 8086 based CAD box.

Gary needed money for hardware development to make his CAD box even faster. If I remember correctly, he was working on a new hard drive controller. Bill approached Tim. Tim said, no, he needs it for the CAD box. Bill said, he can keep it, but how about a license for MS. Tim can continue to use it, as long as it was bundled with a CPU. Cash and a non-exclusive deal did the trick. Bill cut a deal with IBM for not really a lot of cash. IBM eventually cut a deal with Gary as well.

On rollout, two OS's we're offered. C/PM, "runs thousands of todays business programs" @ $250.
DOS V.1.0 @ $40.   Which included BASIC (which for the C/PM OS was and additional either $250 or $500 (memory is failing me here).
So the end user had a choice. $40 with Basic,  or  $500-$750. for BASIC and C/PM. Keep in mind that BASIC was what most programs we're written in.... And the thought of compilers was, well a thought, not product. So you could spend $40, and run your basic code, or spend $500+ and run your basic code.
Tough choice, huh?

Tim Patterson was, lets say a bit torched.

He later extracted his pound of flesh.

When Microsoft went public, (about DOS 3. days) Tim updated Gazelle DOS, added utilities that MS didn't have. Sold it for $25. (MS & PC DOS  was now at $100) did a small manual, and packaged a NEC V-20 chip in plastic with the manual.

Further, on the public announcement, he sued MS over the rights to sell DOS. The suit was retracted, after some $$ went from MS to Tim P. Tim P. signed over all rights, control, etc.

Last I saw Tim P. (few months back) he was walking around campus (MS) with an employee badge. We didn't say a word to each other. I suspect, I'm a painful reminder to him about those days, so I didn't say anything either.

If your wondering why I didn't join them in the early days, it's because I couldn't stand the ego's of that entire bunch. You would HAVE to thrive on conflict and chos then, and in the OS groups and a few application groups now, to make it in Redmond.  Some are now famous, some are out of the industry or dead. A few a simply doing well paid jobs. I continue to sit on the sidelines, where nobody can pull my chain. I make my money anwering questions, and continue to study the industry, both from a ecomonic standpoint, and technical one.

That's the story, from one who was and in some ways, still is there. Yes, I know what 1998 brings. I am under Non-Disclosure Agreements, so don't ask me ANYTHING about what is next. I am Sgt. Shultz. I know NOTHING about tommorow. I know that I would sign a letter about how the past went down, if needed for your class.

Tim Catura-Houser

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