Monday, November 21, 2005

Windows in the Rearview Mirror

The first few versions of Microsoft Windows are often cited as examples of half-baked software being foisted on the marketplace. As the legend goes, it took Microsoft until version 3.0 to make Windows marginally worthwhile.

So I was intrigued by the following, excerpted from Download Squad’s 20 things you don’t know about Windows 1.0:

After taking a look at a very early pre-release version of Windows in 1983, Byte Magazine declared it a system that would “offer remarkable openness, reconfigurability, and transportability as well as modest hardware requirements and pricing.”

In 1984, PC World said that Windows “provides a simple, powerful, and inexpensive user interface that works with most popular programs. That alone is enough to guarantee consumer support to make it the de facto standard of the personal computer market.”

Shortly after its release, PC Magazine gushed of Windows 1.0: “If you’ve ever complained about DOS and envied those more skillful at reaping its inherent productivity bonuses, Windows is just what you need. It makes dealing with DOS a snap and opens up all sorts of new possibilities. Once you try it, unless you’re already a DOS master, you’ll wonder how you ever got along in DOS without it.”

Do these words stem from the lowered expectations of a DOS-addled world? Are they the product of computer journalists practicing the power of positive thinking? Or was Windows 1.0 not as bad as legend has it?

1 comment:

  1. I believe the Microsoft PR department already had Ziff-Davis and other computer magazine publishers organized to hype new product as far back as 1.0. The raves cited are typical of the preview hype for nearly every Windows release to this day. The Tech Press has generally been a cheerleader rather than a critic of all things new with few refreshing exceptions. Rembember when pen computing was going to change the world in 1992? When it finally became commonplace, it was a handy, but hardly earth shattering change IMHO.