The DOS empire strikes a blow / SurprizingFacts

The real winner was Microsoft, who built an empire on zakriski dubiously acquired by MS-DOS.


Intel 8086, more expensive but functionally identical version of Intel 8088, under which IBM PC will ultimately run

In November 1979, Microsoft's frequent partner, Seattle Computer Products, released Intel motherboard 8086 for the hottest hobby lovers and computer manufacturers conducting experiments with this new and very powerful CPU. 8086 was closely related to 8088, selected by IBM for PC. The latter was a cheaper version of the first, a hybrid chip at 8-bit / 16-bit, and not purely 16-bit as 8086.

IBM leaned to a less powerful 8088 in particular to control costs, but also to Allow using with it a certain periphery, which required an 8-bit external data bus, which had 8088. But probably the strongest argument came, as it often happens, from the marketing department, rather than development. The chip 8086 was so powerful that an IBM PC equipped with it could force customers to abandon it in favor of larger IBM systems. IBM wanted to take away business from other PC makers, but not from its own units.

The Modest CPU of Intel 8088

It is important for us to understand , That both chips had the same set of instructions, so they could be followed by the same programs. Everyone wanted to run CP / M on SCP cards, but CP / M was developed only for Intel 8080 and Zilog Z80. Because SCP had the same problems that Jack Sam and IBM came across in a few months. Digital Research periodically promised to release a CP / M version for the 8086/8088, but did not. So in April 1980, Tim Paterson of SCP decided to write the OS on his own for 8086/8088. He called it QDOS – "a cheap and angry operating system" [Quick and Dirty Operating System].

Ethicality or lack thereof in the act of Paterson was discussed for years. Gary Kildall has stated many times that he stole the CP / M source codes, but this statement is problematic. There is no evidence that he had access to a code carefully guarded by Digital, as is the custom in most companies, both of that time and modern.

On the other hand, Paterson admits that he simply took a guide to CP / M and just copied all the API calls, one by one. On the third hand, even if it was not a very original and creative approach, his actions were completely legal, even according to today's standards. Courts time after time conclude that the API is not protected by copyright, it can only be done with its specific implementation, so reverse engineering is permissible. Well, of course, there is still a patent right, but we will not get into this bog.

Intel 8086 card, manufactured by Seattle Computer Products

Food For thinking for open-minded programmers and opponents of Microsoft: if the creation of QDOS was unethical, then Linux – for the most part re-implementation of Unix standards – would be just as unethical. Paterson claims that he had significant reasons for copying the CP / M: he wanted programmers to be able to port programs with CP / M to QDOS as easily as possible. He also states that under the hood, where it was possible, he seriously improved his version of C, especially in working with the disk and files.

And at this time Bill Gates wondered how, damn it, he Can create an operating system for IBM at the appointed time. And then Paterson called Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and told about QDOS – just in case Microsoft suddenly becomes interested in writing programs for her or internal use. Gates, as a person able to recognize a sudden savior, called Sam and asked: "Do you take it yourself, or do you want me to do this?" Sam's answer to this question over the next few decades will cost IBM billions of dollars. "Of course, take it yourself," he said.

Now with the addition in the form of a coprocessor 8087!

Understanding that the programs for PCs were very far from his field of knowledge, Sam simply gave up all software-related problems to Microsoft, and saw no reason to change course. "We wanted this to be their problem," he said afterward. The "problem" of Microsoft in a few years will be a big, huge problem for IBM.

Let there be light!

Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates at the PC Forum in 1986 .

On September 30, Gates, Steve Ballmer and Bob O'Rear, the seventh employee of Microsoft, flew to Florida to make a final offer to IBM. Sam, who wanted to foist the problem of developing software for someone else, their plan seemed ideal. Microsoft will be responsible for the delivery of the OS, four programming languages ​​(BASIC, COBOL, Fortran, Pascal) and a set of other software that must be ready to launch the product (including our old friend, Microsoft Adventure).

Points Gates insisted especially: Microsoft will sell software licenses for IBM, and not just sell the finished product, and expect royalties from them, payment from each copy. IBM, believing that the opportunity to make money on this is enough for everyone, and that it does not hurt so closely to tie the fate of Microsoft to the IBM PC, agreed. A huge company, whose conservatism and avoidance of risks were legendary, agreed to hand over the fate of one of the largest projects to the hands of a 24-year-old guy. If Microsoft did not cope, the IBM PC would be stillborn.

On November 6, Microsoft and IBM officially signed a contract, which immediately paid Microsoft $ 700,000 for the start of the transfer of all sorts of software to the new architecture. It's funny that Lowe and Sam, who played significant roles in the whole project, were transferred to other units. Project Chess may have been an independent business cell, but obviously it did not have absolute immunity to the changeable mood of the IBM bureaucracy. The place of the leader of the project was occupied by Don Estridzh.

While the agreement was made about the software, Project Chess did not stand still. In the same November, Microsoft received the first two prototypes. IBM, fiercely fighting for secrecy, demanded that they be kept in a cellar without windows, locked to the locks that IBM supplied. Microsoft and Project Chess, physically separated as far as possible in order to still remain in the US, yet created working relationships similar to the working relationships that exist today, when much less depends on geography. They talked on the phone all the time, especially with the special e-mail system that they set up, sending messages to both sides with the help of the service for one day, and often went to each other – sometimes without warning. This became a special cause of concern for Microsoft. IBM had a habit of coming without warning to check if their smart security practices adhere to them.

Of course, the IBM team also had something to do, but Microsoft really had to hurry. Because of all these negotiations, they, according to Gates, already "lagged behind the schedule for three months" on the day of signing the contract. All several months worked without days off. Most did not even go for Christmas.

The first goal was to get the machine to work in two modes: BASIC and a disk operating system. Microsoft could cope with the former itself, but on the second question they depended on Seattle Computer Products. When Microsoft ended the negotiations with IBM and began work, Paterson and SCP continued their own development, improving QDOS from the state of hack "cheap and angry" to a usable OS. In the process they, for obvious reasons, renamed it into 86-DOS. By the end of the year, they finally had a version suitable for going out into the world.

Bill Gates may not look like a cold-blooded businessman, but it is this impression he is striving for

Bill Gates emerges from the shadow

Until then, Bill Gates was quiet, acting as a single-minded but honest businessman. Now we begin to see how something comes out of that legendary evasiveness of Gates. He wanted Microsoft to work on a royalty scheme that gave them a share in the IBM PC project, the success of which was hoped for. But he did not want to share these fruits with SCP, which did not even know about the existence of the IBM project, or that their modest OS, written by one person, was the key to the plans of one of the world's largest companies. Gates wanted to keep them in the dark, but he needed 86-DOS yesterday. Consequently, he needed to wrest the 86-DOS from their hands, not letting them know why he needed it.

Paul Allen and Bill Gates miss the PC Forum of 1987

Paul Allen agreed with SCP owner Rod Brock in January, claiming that Microsoft has a carload of customers eager to run 86-DOS. The deal allowed Microsoft to work as an intermediary, or retailer, on these transactions. For each client to whom they will sell a license for 86-DOS, they promised to pay SCP for $ 10,000, or $ 15,000 if the source code is supplied with the license. Also, they will pay SCP $ 10,000 immediately after the transaction.

For SCP, a small company with equipment, without the connections and marketing skills of Microsoft, such a deal sounded great – especially because recently the business was not going very good. Microsoft showed confidence that it could sell quite a few licenses, which would bring the company easy money for the OS, which Paterson started almost for fun.

One of the items hidden in the contract could raise suspicion: "Nothing In this license agreement can not oblige Microsoft to disclose its client to Seattle Computer Products. " Later Brock said: "It seemed strange to us, but we agreed." In fact, of course, Microsoft did not have any car of distressed customers. They had only one client, the largest of all: IBM. Microsoft sold under this agreement only one license, which gave it the right to successfully purchase the OS for IBM PC for a total of $ 25,000.

The first download

In February, Bob O'Rear from Microsoft first was able to load 86-DOS on one of the prototypes:

It was already kind of a deep night. It was one of the most joyful moments of my life, finally, after all the preparations and work, throwing back and forth, the operating system booted up and announced that it was ready to receive commands. It was an exciting moment.

IBM soon began to demand changes in 86-DOS. Microsoft found that it was in an awkward position, because she had to turn again to Paterson, who knew 86-DOS better than any other with whom they had contracted for consultations, and ask him to make changes, without saying who they are from. As a result, they persuaded him to leave SCP and come to them on a full-time basis. "It's IBM!" – they informed him, as soon as he crossed the threshold of his office on the first working day as an employee.

86-DOS (QDOS) running on the emulator

Irony from Paterson's point of view, which for decades defended itself against accusations of pirated copying of CP / M, was that many of the changes requested by IBM drew even closer 86-DOS to CP / M. For example, a command prompt that demonstrates the current drive, "A:>", was introduced at IBM's request, and it was a copy of what the CP / M was doing. Paterson says that he was "sick of it", but, naturally, in this project, IBM usually received what it required.

IBM planned to make the announcement of IBM PC in August 1981 – according to the original plan according to which Project Chess was supposed to be born exactly in a year. They did not want to put it off, so everyone in Boca Raton, and especially Microsoft, worked even harder, skipping small deadlines, while the main one remained immovable.

IBM also began to make confidential offers to developers of such software, Like VisiCalc and Easy Writer's text processing package, to add them to the Microsoft applications and games lineup. They even agreed that UCSD Pascal P-System will be available for those who want to launch it in conjunction with 86-DOS or Microsoft BASIC.

It's amazing, but such an extensive project has remained secret for a long time. But, finally, in June InfoWorld printed a detailed article, describing almost the entire plan in detail, and even mentioned that the OS in the project will not be CP / M, but it is very similar to it. InfoWorld was mistaken only with the announcement date, writing that it will happen in June, and not in August. An earlier project of the personal computer Datamaster, the technology and creators of which were useful in Project Chess, made its debut in that month. Many decided that the InfoWorld article was about Datamaster, and that as a result, the magazine described everything incorrectly. However, people with good connections were already aware of what was going on.

I'll drink your milkshake

PC-DOS 1982 version

A Then on July 27, 1981, less than two weeks before the planned announcement, Bill Gates concluded a century deal.

Rod Brock from SCP was disappointed. The army of licenses for 86-DOS, which he expected after the deal with Microsoft, did not appear, and now he has lost Paterson, the only person who worked with software in his company, mainly focused on equipment. At that time it was already obvious who became the only buyer of the 86-DOS license, but SCP needed money and did not have the opportunity to support the OS. He tried to sell 86-DOS, in search of someone who wants to support the system in exchange for an exclusive license. Gates immediately responded, offered so necessary for SCP $ 50,000, but with one condition. He insisted that Microsoft will buy not an exclusive license, but the whole system. Then she will issue an exclusive license of the SCP itself, which turned the entire transaction upside down. Brock doubted, but he needed money, and he did not know what to do himself with 86-DOS.

He signed the deal, making Microsoft the sole owner of 86-DOS – and it was immediately renamed to MS-DOS . Here's another example of making a terrible financial decision, very typical for the early history of microcomputers, when hackers who knew everything about bits and bytes and who did not know anything about business suddenly began to run companies. Gates, it seemed, never made such mistakes, and at the same time knew how to use or even encourage others to commit them. Such an innocent lamb as Brock was easy to send to the slaughter. MS-DOS, purchased for $ 50,000, earned about $ 200 million for Microsoft by 1991. And it became the cornerstone of the monopoly of the company, which will dominate business computing by the mid-1980s, and in virtually all computer areas by the mid-1990s -x. This decision more than anyone else contributed to the transformation of Microsoft into today's giant.

But then Microsoft and IBM had one more legal snag. While the IBM PC project became an increasingly popular secret of the industry, Gary Kildall saw how 86-DOS / MS-DOS works. He was convinced that Paterson had stolen his operating system, somehow got access to the source code, then changed it to run on Intel 8086/8088, cut serials and sold it to IBM. He began to threaten the court, and (which probably worried more about IBM), raise a howl in the press that might overshadow the upcoming announcement.

Kildal and Gates met at dinner to try to negotiate, but nothing happened. "It was one of those meetings where everyone at first politely speaks to each other, then everyone yells at each other, then everyone is again polite with each other, and then everybody yells again," recalls John Katsaros, a Digital Research employee who attended at the meeting. So IBM intervened and offered a deal. The company will offer a version of CP / M-86, compatible with the 8088, which Digital could not complete in any way, as soon as Kildall provided them with its ready-made version. Calmed Kildall agreed.

IBM PC, which from the very beginning thought of as a "machine for everything", now will have four possibilities for work: BASIC, built-in ROM, MS-DOS, CP / M or UCSD Pascal.

August 12, 1981

IBM made the official announcement of the IBM PC on August 12, 1981 at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. At the machine with 16 KB of RAM and one floppy disk, the recommended price was $ 1565. In the complete set the price reached $ 6000. At such prices, you could get Microsoft BASIC in ROM for free. MS-DOS, sold under license from IBM as PC-DOS, cost $ 40, and UCSD Pascal – more than $ 500. IBM also announced that at some point the CP / M-86 will be available. As a result, it will take more than six months until Digital finally gives out the running CP / M-86. After that, IBM, as promised, placed it in its catalog for $ 240.

The first version of the IBM PC 5150 with a printer, introduced in August 1981

Kildall, right up until his death, confident that MS-DOS was a pirated copy of CP / M, and sometimes claimed that he could prove it through a secret message embedded in the system or an unusual API attribute, believed that IBM specifically designated for CP / M The price is six times higher than for MS-DOS, so that no one buys it, and thus fulfills the letter, but not the spirit of the agreement. IBM simply stated that since Digital required too high license fees, it had no way out. Три из четырёх вариантов операционок, CP/M, Microsoft BASIC и UCSD Pascal, использовали так редко, что сегодня уже мало кто помнит, что они вообще были доступны в качестве опций. А MS-DOS, понятное дело, отправилась завоёвывать мир.

IBM PC 5150

При этом железо было серым и скучным. Несмотря на необычный для IBM процесс разработки, конечный продукт не сильно отличался от того, что можно было ожидать от IBM. В нём не было никакой творческой жилки, но по клацанью клавиатуры и по большому, крепкому корпусу с большим количеством металла внутри, агрегат выглядел достаточно надёжным. И это было не поверхностное впечатление. Что бы ни говорили, IBM PC был создан на века. Возможно, наименее известной инновацией было использование памяти с дополнительным битом чётности, который автоматически обнаруживал ошибки. Это был первый массовый микрокомпьютер, оборудованный такой защитой памяти, помогавшей избегать редких, но чрезвычайно сложно обнаруживаемых ошибок памяти, которые могли приводить к совершенно непредсказуемым результатам на ранних PC. Проверка чётности в RAM – не та функция, что может возбудить хакеров, но для бизнесмена, жизнь которого зависит от оборудования, это именно такая функция, которая характеризует компанию IBM. Она обеспечивала вам чувство безопасности.

Реклама IBM PC 5150 в печатном издании

Отсутствие творческого начала в дизайне подтверждало предубеждённость хакеров, но для бизнесменов, не доверяющим всяким неряшливым стартапам-выскочкам, появление IBM PC сделало микрокомпьютер серьёзным инструментом, пригодным для серьёзной работы. Менеджеры среднего звена кинулись скупать IBM PC, поскольку ещё никого никогда не увольняли за покупку IBM – даже если раньше этот процесс так сильно никого не радовал. IBM продала 13500 PC за последние два месяца 1981 года, а после этого продажи вообще рванули в космос.

Когда в игру, наконец, вступила IBM, и с октября машины начали поступать покупателям с опережением графика, компаниям, до того присутствовавшим на рынке, оставалось только догадываться, что всё это значит. Джон Роач из Radio Shack не угадал больше других: «Не думаю, что это такое уж значимое событие». Ещё один директор Radio Shack оказался лишь чуть менее близоруким: «Конечно, у нас появился новый конкурент, но IBM не предложила ничего, что могло бы взорвать индустрию».

Apple, уже тогда больше всех понимавшая в связях с общественностью, дала рекламную статью в Wall Street Journal на полную страницу, в которой говорилось: «Добро пожаловать, IBM. Правда.» Как и многие другие примеры рекламы от Apple, это был шедевр риторики, звучащий вроде бы вежливо, и при этом дававший понять, что а) IBM опоздала и б) Apple рассматривает их как ещё одних конкурентов.

Реклама Apple в WSJ:
Добро пожаловать на самый интересный и важный рынок с момента начала компьютерной революции, стартовавшей 35 лет назад.
Поздравляем с вашим первым персональным компьютером.
Отдать все возможности компьютера в распоряжение отдельных индивидов – это значит, улучшить качество того, как люди живут, работают, обучаются, общаются и проводят свободное время.
Когда мы придумали первую персональную вычислительную систему, мы прикидывали, что примерно 140 млн людей смогут оправдать её покупку, если поймут её преимущества.
Мы предположили, что только в следующем году миллион человек придёт к этому пониманию. А в следующем десятилетии рост персональных компьютеров будет логарифмическим.
Мы ждём ответственной конкурентной борьбы в сложной попытке распространить эту американскую технологию по всему миру. Мы ценим сложность взятых вами на себя обязательств.
Потому что мы занимаемся увеличением социального капитала через улучшение продуктивности индивидов.
Добро пожаловать на выполнение этой задачи.


IBM PC 5150 стал настолько успешным, что породил множество вариаций

Много лет спустя станет ясно, что появление IBM PC стало третьей величайшей вехой в истории PC, последовавшей за первыми микрокомпьютерными наборами, появившимися в 1975 году, и троицей (Apple II, PET, TRS-80), вышедшей в 1977. Также оно отметило конец первой эры истории Microsoft, неряшливого, но уважаемого поставщика BASIC, других языков программирования и прикладных программ (в таком порядке). На фоне запуска IBM PC Microsoft быстро оборвала связи с более хакерскими сообществами, среди которых она росла, чтобы крепко прицепить свой вагон к поезду бизнес-вычислений IBM и MS-DOS. На этом пути их ожидало множество эстетических, технических и юридических проблем – но кроме этого, там же ждали и сотни миллиардов долларов.

Начиная с IBM PC XT в 1983, со встроенным жёстким диском

У других игроков в этой истории судьбы сложились сложнее. Seattle Computer Products ещё несколько лет пыталась оставаться на плаву, но сдалась в 1985. У Рода Брока всё же оставалась одна очень ценная вещица. Вы помните, что Брок продал 86-DOS в Microsoft, но взамен получил эксклюзивную лицензию. Когда его компания закрывалась, он решил подзаработать, продав эту лицензию покупателю, который предложит самую высокую цену. Microsoft, увидев возможность того, что внезапно Radio Shack, Compaq или даже IBM смогут продавать машины с установленной MS-DOS и ничего ей за это не платить, задним числом установила, что эта лицензия продана без права передачи. Это вылилось в сложную юридическую баталию, одну из первых, ждавших Microsoft на её пути. В результате Брок не продал свою лицензию, но получил в качестве примирения чек на сумму в $925000, которого ему вполне хватило.

Потом был IBM PC AT в 1984, с новым ЦП 80286

Естественно, самым большим неудачником в этой истории остался Гэри Килдалл. Однако это вопрос интерпретации и точки зрения. Digital Research потеряла своё первое место в мире бизнес-вычислений, но годами продолжала оставаться жизнеспособным и достаточно неплохо зарабатывающим поставщиком ПО и нишевых ОС. Килдалл прославился, как один из ведущих шоу Computer Chronicles на PBS, немного взъерошенным, вежливым, и интересным для телезрителей, относившихся к породе нёрдов. В итоге в 1991 году Digital купила Novell, что позволило Килдаллу удалиться на покой в качестве миллионера. Так что для неудачника он довольно неплохо кончил. Килдалл всегда больше интересовался технологиями, чем бизнесом, и он не смог бы стать Биллом Гейтсом. Гейтс, возможно, и выиграл, но, вероятно, Килдаллу было гораздо интереснее работать.

IBM PCjr, первая попытка компании прорваться на рынок домашних компьютеров, 1984

Хотя IBM PC отметил окончание эры, и начало новой, эти эры лучше видны задним числом, чем в момент их существования. Сразу после его запуска мало что сразу изменилось для счастливых пользователей Apple, Commodore, Atari и Radio Shack. IBM при разработке PC представляла себе машину как подходящую для чего угодно, включая и конкуренцию с упомянутыми компаниями – отсюда и BASIC в ROM, вариант с поддержкой кассет, и даже требование о возможности присоединения его к телевизору. IBM даже договорилась о возможности продаж через популярную сеть Sears. И всё же машина была достаточно дорогой даже в простейших вариантах, и ей не хватало основы из казуального софта (в основном, игр) и таких приверженцев, какие были у её конкурентов. Также были малопривлекательными её возможности в графике и звуке (и удивительно, что они вообще были), особенно по сравнению с новой машиной Commodore 64, вышедшей в 1982-м.

Commodore 64 удерживал IBM PC от завоевания рынка домашних компьютеров. Некоторое время.

Так что, хотя бизнес-сообщество удивительно быстро потянулось к IBM и MS-DOS, мир домашних вычислений, любителей хобби и образовательных компьютеров оставался достаточно раздробленным ещё много лет. В результате, конечно, MS-DOS победит – но это займёт больше десятилетия, вместо нескольких месяцев, что позволит расти и процветать самым живым и интересным компьютерным культурам.

About the author


Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *