What if Microsoft never existed? (part two)

“On August 12, 1981 International Business Machines (IBM), after failed negotiations with Digital Research, awarded a contract to a small software company based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The contract? Provide an operating system for their new line of personal computers. The company? A small 11-man outfit called Microsoft. The single most pivotal event in the history of modern computing had just occurred, and no one would realize it for almost another two decades,” James R. Stoup writes for Apple Matters. “But what if things had gone differently?”

“If IBM had chosen Digital Research it is quite probable that DR would have become very successful, …[but,] it seems unlikely that Digital Research would reach the current position of today’s Microsoft. Because for that to happen Digital Research would have had to blatantly steal from competitors and partners alike. Digital Research would have had to continually act in an immoral and often times illegal manner to preserve its position. They would have needed to have, as a corporate policy, an attitude of indifference to the anti-trust laws of this country and a willingness to crush anyone who stood in their way. In short, I doubt they had the will, or the leadership, to be so evil for so long,” Stoup writes.

Full article here.

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Related MacDailyNews articles:
Where would the computing world be if Microsoft never existed? – February 13, 2006
Mac users should not buy Microsoft software (or hardware) – May 16, 2003

22 Comments

  1. Disasters, both natural and man-made, are often the source of the genesis energy needed to spawn our greatest innovations. Thus, Microsoft spawned the new era of Apple.

    In the end, in spite of the human nature to be extraordinarily lazy and do nothing, good will overcome evil. But, sadly, it usually takes an individual hero to narrowly prevent our demise. If not for Jobs, we’d all be muttering on an obscure blog site about how we wish we had a better OS than our current system’s MS Windows 98 w/ impotent security patch #23,998.

    So, we should praise Microsoft for being so reckless and incompetent. We needed their manure to make our garden grow.

  2. Competition is always good. Imagine if there were 3 operating systems with equal market share. Security would be much less of an issue since any single exploit could only hit 1/3 of the computers. Software companies would learn to write code that could easily be ported to other operating systems easily. Instead of standards being pushed out by vendors, users would be able to choose the best technology for their needs, whether it be based upon cost or performance.

  3. DRIVEL.

    POINTLESS.

    MS is here. In some ways, they have hurt. In others they have helped.

    Apple’s outrageous pricing paved the way for MS. They had the market and lost it.

    Blame the Apple of 25 years ago, not MS.

    BTW, I love Apple. But they dropped the ball.

  4. As a Mac using sci-fi fan, who likes the particular “what-if” scenarios of alternate history stories, this series of “articles” is very appealing.

    It will be interesting to see how he incorporates the triad of Apple hardware, Adobe postscript and Aldus PageMaker into his scenario.

    An IBM/DR vs. generic PC/Windows market war might have left the Apple/Adobe/Aldus triad with and extraordinary opportunity.

    In the event of an IBM/DR vs PC/Windows war (which could have continued into the mid-90s, would Adobe (after buying out Aldus) have developed versions of its software for three platforms? Probably not.

    Or…if an IBM/DR vs. PC/Windows war had developed, it’s possible the Apple/Adobe/Aldus triad might not have formed.

  5. I guess this kind of article may allow some venting of MS hatred … but I really can’t stand “what if” articles. what if that chicago cubs fan did not catch that foul ball during the playoffs … what if the supreme court upheld the rulings of the florida circuit courts on the presidential recount … what if the officials ruled that rothlisberger did not cross the plane of the end zone … what if my penis were four inches longer – would I be married to the same woman? … these and other “what if” questions are so pointless and silly.

  6. It may be pointless to argue/debate the subject, but the poinhts taken in the article are spot on. So just for an historical understanding of how/why Microsoft happened, it makes good reading. I think this part sums up the whole Microsoft phenomenon very well.

    <In the same manner it seems unlikely that Digital Research would reach the current position of today’s Microsoft. Because for that to happen Digital Research would have had to blatantly steal from competitors and partners alike. Digital Research would have had to continually act in an immoral and often times illegal manner to preserve its position. They would have needed to have, as a corporate policy, an attitude of indifference to the anti-trust laws of this country and a willingness to crush anyone who stood in their way. In short, I doubt they had the will, or the leadership, to be so evil for so long.>

  7. “…Imagine if there were 3 operating systems with equal market share…”

    But wait, what if one became slightly more popular than the other? Then you would have only two equal and good OS’s and one evil, monopolistic one – this would require the government to step in and even things out by forcing more consumers to buy the other, less popular OS.

    What if one of the OS companies stopped innovating altogether and became stagnant? The owners of the stagnant OS would then be locked in by regulatory controls designed to maintain OS equilibrium and fall farther and farther behind in their own productivity, affecting their own industries because of their initial OS choice.

    What if – OK, I gotta go…

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