25 years of Office roadkill
How Microsoft's productivity suite came to dominance
By Woody Leonhard | Network World US | Published: 00:12, 22 May 2014
25 years ago, Bill Gates announced that Microsoft would smash together its three application programs -- Word, Excel, and PowerPoint -- offering them in a cohesive bundle known as Microsoft Office for Windows. When Office 1.0 arrived in 1990, the apps had very little in common and worked together only under duress.
The second version of Office (enigmatically known as Microsoft Office 3.0, comprised of Word 2, Excel 4, PowerPoint 3, and Mail 3) started carving out a new software category, defining by example the term “office productivity.”
By hook, by crook, FUD, and ruthless pursuit of market share, Office turned into the aging juggernaut you see today. This is our tribute to the many competitors that have fallen prey to the productivity Goliath.
Word processors: Early DOS word processors
Electric Pencil -- Born: 1976; died: ca 1983, cause of death: neglect EasyWriter -- Born on the Apple II: 1979; ported to DOS: 1981; died of bugs Volkswriter -- Born: 1982, in response to EasyWriter’s bugs; died: ca 1989 Here’s to all of the pioneering commercial word processors, including Homeword, PFS:Write, Bank Street Writer, XyWrite, DisplayWrite, PC-Write, many more. They all flourished then fizzled. All were crushed by the time Office hit the stands. Electric Pencil came first; its history as told in InfoWorld’s May 10, 1982 edition: “The original idea for the first word processor came eventually to Michael Shrayer … [who] had never worked in the computer field.” Shrayer grew bored keeping up with the word-processing Joneses, and Electric Pencil withered away.