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RE: MathCad (was TEDDS)

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scott Maxwell [mailto:smaxwell(--nospam--at)engin.umich.edu]
> Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2001 5:23 PM
> To: SEAOC Newsletter
> Subject: RE: MathCad (was TEDDS)
>
>
> It is fair to say (at
> least in my mind) that the Mac made Word the dominate program that it is
> today.

Wrong. WINDOWS made Word what it is today.

That was the plan.

Remember, first, that WordPerfect also was on the Mac platform at about the
same time (and Lotus had a Mac product called Javelin that was quite
advanced even compared to Excel at the same time--we're talking mid- to
late-80s).

MS realized that they could leverage their office productivity
products--essentially Word and Excel--using Windows. They'd have a jump on
the competition--essentially WordPerfect and Lotus--by being first-to-market
with Windows-based products.

There was an ancillary benefit to being the originator of both the OS
environment (Windows was--and still is, if you consider Windows
9x/Me--essentially DOS all dressed up) and the applications, they would have
an advantage that other applications wouldn't have: First-hand knowledge of
how to integrate their products with the OS.

You have to understand that, back in the days when DOS was king, it was
simply a low-level OS, providing very little in the way of "services" to the
applications. There were no standards as far as interface; each application
had its own. Mice were next-to-nonexistant as real input devices; everything
was keyboard driven.

WordPerfect had two real advantages to any other application out there.
First, it had a keyboard command set that was well-thought-out, and quickly
became one of the main reasons that WP was so popular.

But even MORE importantly, WordPerfect supported nearly every printer that
was on the market at the time. Remember, this was at a time when device
drivers--printers, video, etc.--were the responsibility of the application
vendors, not the OS.

Windows changed all that. Overnight, practically speaking, WP's advantage
was NULLIFIED, because under Windows, the printer, input device, and video
display drivers were the responsibility of the OS, not the application. So
that was no longer a compelling reason to have WP unless you were still in
DOS mode.

Then, MS did two things: First, it "forced" PC vendors to buy a license for
Windows 3.x along with the license for DOS. MS would not allow vendors,
after early 1992, to sell PCs with only DOS. So the PC makers shrugged and
complied. Windows 3.x, as klunky as it was, became a big success because it
was easier to use than DOS (I know, Mac people, you roll your eyes, but the
fact is that Mac had little market penetration in those days, probably less
than now even, and most people didn't know and didn't care what a Mac could
do, because they used IBM PC "clones" and DOS).

Second, they "delayed" giving out the programming APIs for Windows until
they had just about finished their own Windows-based office applications.
Combined with the fact that WP and Lotus were slow to roll out Windows-based
versions of their applications even after they had the APIs--I believe WP
5.1 for Windows was the first out, and it was almost a YEAR later than Word
2.whatever for Windows.

So the secretaries and what-have-you decided to go ahead and switch to Word
(MS was practically giving it away, as well as Excel, as "competitive
upgrades") so that they could use it under that "pretty" Windows interface.
The rest is history. WP has been bought and sold about three times, Lotus is
a division of IBM, and Ashton-Tate (dBase) doesn't even exist anymore.

MS was, indeed, predatory in this whole thing. They sought and pretty much
succeeded in destroying the established competition, but Macintosh had
NOTHING to do with it. "Windows" was the Dark Knight in that battle.

William L. Polhemus, Jr., P.E.
Polhemus Engineering Company
Katy, Texas
Phone 281-492-2251
Fax 281-492-8203


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