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RE: MathCad (was TEDDS)

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Bill:

I am not going to argue with most of you points, because I agree with a
lot of them.  In particular, it is my personal suspicion that Microsoft
was likely a little "lax" and slow in getting information to WordPerfect
and Lotus when those companies finally decided to make a Windoze version
of their programs.

My point was that since M$ had a fully function graphical version that was
widely used on the Mac (admittedly, Mac only made up a small percentage of
total computer market share...but Word and Excel were completely dominate
on the Mac platform LONG before Windoze was even remotely considered
"viable" by the DOS world), they had a HUGE head start on WordPerfect and
1-2-3 for Windoze, even ignoring susposed withholding of information from
those companies and the fact that WordPerfect and Lotus did not even begin
to consider a Windoze version until much later than M$.  You are correct
that Word and Excel could have more than likely gained their huge market
share with or without the Mac, but I would argue that the Mac did greatly
accelerate that surge to the top.

>From recollection of doing computer support back around that time, Word
did not become the market leader until about version 4 or 5.  It was
similar for Excel.

Ultimately, Word and Excel became the market leaders because of a number
of factors: 1) did not have to re-invent the wheel because of the Mac
version; 2) WordPerfect and Lotus dropped the ball and waited too long to
"buy" into the Windoze thing while M$ was on board from the beginning
(after all, Windoze was their baby so of course they "bought" into it); 3)
the uncomfirmed possibility of M$ being a little slow to provide necessary
development information to WordPerfect and Lotus (this is only
speculation/suspicion); 4) Word and Excel did not have to deal with DOS
legacy issues (both WordPerfect and 1-2-3 had some "limitations" that were
carried from the DOS versions that resulted from having to originally deal
with non-graphical versions); and 5) M$ (and Bill Gates) just plain know
how to market things (even though I have been a long time Mac user, I have
always thought that Apple's biggest problem, until recently, was that they
could not market themselves out of a paper bag...a wet, soggy one that was
already falling apart).

I think that Christopher is on the mark.  Yes, there were other graphical
interfaces out there at the same time as the original Macs, but none had
the "domanince" or market share that the Mac had.  I would argue that
Windoze does exist today because Bill Gates saw the Mac.  I believe (right
or wrong) that if there had been no Mac, then Windoze would likely not
exist, at least in its current incarnation.  FWIW, I was using a graphical
word processor that looked remarkably like Word and MacWrite on an Apple
IIe long before the Mac came out.  It did not have a mouse, but still have
many of the same menus.  Apple and the MacOS pushed that type of stuff
into the semi-mainstream where it could be noticed by M$.

I would go into an arguement about which OS is better.  As others have
said, that is a highly subjective thing.  I will say that I will take my
Mac with its antiquated OS (version 9.x) over a Windoze machine any day.
I can't comment on Windoze 2000 since I have not used it, but I still
prefer the Mac OS to Windoze 95, 98, Me or NT.  I will say that I am
looking forward to trying Mac OS X...

Scott
self-professed computer junkie, especially Macs


On Thu, 24 May 2001, Bill Polhemus wrote:

> > -----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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