OS / 2 a quarter of a century later: why IBM lost and Microsoft won

Original author: Andrew Orlowski
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Twenty-five years ago, IBM introduced the master plan for regaining control of the PC market. In November 1987, the first floppy disks with OS / 2 version 1.0 went to stores. Microsoft developed it with IBM, and if these plans were successfully implemented, the world would be completely different. And the world has already begun to change.

Now OS / 2 is usually remembered only in connection with the role that it played in the industrial war, which ended in a triumphant victory for Microsoft. At the time of the release of OS / 2, 1,800 people worked at Microsoft, less than they now work at the Liverpool QVC television store. Microsoft was not even the largest producer of PC software. But in just a few years, the company became not only the largest player in the industry, but also one of the most expensive companies in the world; the mere rumor about Microsoft entering a new niche caused panic among existing players.

According to the traditions of our publication, I brought old programs back to life and appreciated OS / 2 from a modern point of view. But it’s much more interesting to ask another question again: could IBM win? If OS / 2 was the cause of the defeat of the Blue Giant, could they stop Microsoft with trickier plans? Let's go back to the days when the world did not yet know the words “platform” and “ecosystem” and recall what the information technology industry looked like in the mid-1980s.



Primary Soup: World in 1987.

It was a disjointed universe. Serious money was made on old hardware, vertically integrated systems. IBM was the mistress of this universe, having just settled a ten-year antitrust case. In 1985, it employed 405,000 people - 12 Google.

In the closest rival to IBM,Digital Equipment , which owned half the minicomputer market, employed 100,000 people. The information industry center was located in the Boston and New York area, reflecting the influence of government orders from the Cold War and MIT , the largest technical university in the world, located in Boston, Massachusetts. The microprocessor penetration of the market that has just begun has led to a heated discussion of " open systems ." Over the next years, “open systems” became the main marketing slogan, almost equal in popularity to the current “clouds”. Open systems meant Unix, and Unix meant Sun Microsystems - which has become the engine of competition in the new market for network workstations.

That was the business market. Games and cool multimedia lived on powerful 16-bit microcomputers, including niche audio and (later) video processing lineup of Commodore Amiga and Atari ST . Amid their successes, the Apple Macintosh looked like an overrated toy. In fact, the Mac was just another microprocessor based on the Motorola 68000 family of microprocessors - very well designed - but technically inferior to the much more complex Amiga and too weird for business. For a while, the Mac seemed to drown Apple, but Postscript , the Apple LaserWriter printer, and PageMaker created a computer layout and gave Apple unshakable publishing support.

There was also an IBM PC. Rude, low-functional, non-funky: PC managed to put together the worst of all worlds. As a business computer, it was significantly inferior to Sun workstations. And what idiot could have thought of buying a PC home? It was pointless to use it as a multimedia machine, there were not even sound cards, only a primitive squeak was available to him.

But the PC had its advantages. Offices and departments of large companies could buy their own PC or its clones and much faster, easier and cheaper to start working with databases or spreadsheets. An alternative was the bureaucratic procedures for requests for working time on the mainframe and for writing or altering the corresponding programs. The PC had a wide selection of diverse hardware, as numerous companies sold clones or “compatible” machines and a thriving market for dealers, training, and support. PC meant Novell for networks, SCO Unix (or a dozen forgotten alternatives) for vertical integration, and for everything else, the largest companies in this market, Lotus Corporation and Ashton Tate. The ubiquitous business PC applications — dBase , Lotus 1-2-3, WordStar, and WordPerfect — had their own ecosystems, consisting of trained users, macros, extensions, and even serious graphing and reporting software that was compatible with them.

You probably noticed that something is missing. No one knew the very idea of ​​an “API” or an ecosystem — a multilateral market — because in those days, the “platform” on PC meant the application itself. DOS did not provide any APIs, only allowing something to break interrupts. There was nothing in naked DOS that could help a novice developer. If you were developing a new application for DOS, you had to independently support all the peripherals. If the user had an HP LaserJet printer or a sophisticated Hercules video card , you had to write drivers for them yourself. In 1989, WordPerfect displaced WordStar from the position of the most popular text editor for PC, thanks in large part to its excellent drivers.

DOS was not an “operating system,” but a banal bootloader. DOS had a primitive 8 + 3 file system. There was no API - the applications did everything they wanted and were capable of. And he was one-tasking, for multitasking it was necessary to install hacks from third-party companies.

Thus, by the mid-1980s, IBM faced two challenges. The first is to repel the onslaught of open systems, strengthen the PC's reputation as a business machine and return it to the parent wing. The second is to bring the PC to the modern level, which meant multitasking, network support and a graphical interface - users of other systems have already enjoyed all this. IBM planned to achieve this in three ways - a new software platform, a new iron architecture, and a new strategy. IBM made a new PS / 2 system busclosed, hoping to sell licenses to manufacturers of clones and expansion cards. But no one wanted to buy them. Instead of making the rest of the world incompatible with IBM and therefore unattractive to customers, PS / 2 made IBM computers incompatible with the rest of the world. PS / 2 was sold only by IBM and as a result the company surrendered.

The new strategy was grand, all-encompassing, marketing nonsense called Systems Application Architectureand a very IBM response to open systems. SAA has promised a huge set of standards that integrate IBM developer interfaces, user interfaces, and communication protocols. But IBM has long ceased to create reasonable standards. For example, IBM systems did not use the industry standard for text encoding, ASCII - they used their own, called EBCDIC - which existed in at least six different versions. SAA has not made IBM products “open systems.”

New operating system for PC

IBM's third focus was the new PC operating system, OS / 2. It was a new challenge for the company. For many years, the programs were only part of the “computer” purchased by the client; selling the programs separately from IBM computers was forced only by a decision of the Ministry of Justice of 1968. Most of the software continued to be written for a specific hardware and was tied to it. IBM has never before sold software in an open and mature market where users make their own choices. These were uncharted waters in which extremely aggressive creatures hid.

With its multitasking, sophisticated multithreading, interprocess utilities like pipes and queues (IPC goodies like pipes and queues), a graphical interface and the new OS / 2 file system was in no way inferior to competitors. The kernel was very well designed and able to simultaneously execute almost any application. The OS / 2 API also saw forward-thinking system planning for years of use.

IBM led the development of OS / 2 together with the tiny company Microsoft, and despite many differences, they somehow reached the joint release of the system.

OS / 2 was a truly new "platform." But it was unusual for users and at the time of launch did not have a single application. OS / 2 needed what we now call the "ecosystem." And what to do in this case?

What is a platform?

IBM at that time had no idea about the very idea of ​​a device-independent platform. In the literal sense of the word, she did not know what she did not know. But how could she know this? Customers usually bought what they advised IBM, questions arose only regarding the timing of the purchase. OS / 2 needed a developer market and support from hardware manufacturers so that OS / 2 could work on a wide range of video cards, printers, and other peripherals. This was a classic chicken and egg problem. Why allocate funds to conquer a market that is not yet?

For all its technical correctness, OS / 2 provided very few advantages, and its implementation brought a lot of headache to corporate support services.

Multitasking comes to PC: OS / 2 version 1.0 The


size and authority of IBM forced several major developers to make versions of their DOS-programs for OS / 2, Ashton Tate, for example, transferred dBase, but moving applications did not mean moving the ecosystem. Driver development was hellishly difficult, after three years it was extremely difficult to print something from under OS / 2. Nowadays, platform manufacturers understand that they need to support, persuade and even bribe application and driver developers. Microsoft knew this, IBM did not.

OS / 2 backward compatibility was not impressive either. Originally designed with 16-bit, the new system did not take advantage of the new capabilities of 32-bit Intel 386 processors to run DOS virtual machines. The "DOS compatibility tool" on 16-bit OS / 2 was slow and unreliable. Without attractive applications and hardware support, the only advantage of OS / 2 was the ability to use more than 640 kilobytes of memory in applications. But in the summer of 1988 there was a jump in memory prices, which made the 2 megabytes necessary for OS / 2 extremely expensive. The graphical user interface was even more demanding; Presentation Manager made most of the existing PCs too weak for OS / 2.

The most reasonable solution for users was third-party patches for DOS, which added multitasking and expanded the available memory.

The first version of OS / 2 entered the market in 1987, with multitasking and a text interface. A version with a graphical interface was released only a year later. It still did not have a modern HFS file system, with support for partitions and large files.

OS / 2 failed.

Various workstation ideas.

In the summer of 1988, one project changed the relationship between partners. DOS could not use more than 640 kilobytes of RAM, which spawned a thriving market of memory extenders, which, using various tricks, sought to allocate more volume. One of the undoubted advantages of OS / 2 was the mechanism for working with memory, which does not impose any restrictions up to 15 megabytes. But this summer, one of the Redmond trainees found a way to run DOS in Intel 286 protected mode, giving her more memory.

The intern manager showed his work to Steve Ballmer, and Microsoft executives thought about the possibility of using the Windows shell as a memory expander for DOS. The PC could load DOS, start Windows, and gradually replace DOS components at the lower level, similar to replacing wheels on a moving car without stopping it. Tricky way. But Windows was full of such hacks - in the technical sense of the word, it was self-modifying code.

The “shell plus memory expander” did not have rich OS / 2 APIs - and the system would never become stable. It did not even have long file names. DOS used the archaic 8 + 3 system (“LTTR2BOB.WPD”) a decade ago. It was not an operating system at all. But she had a graphical interface and with the help of smoke, mirrors and a fair amount of faith on the part of users, she could be presented as a new operating system.

With a slight stretch, Windows could be advertised as a new “platform." The new platform meant that all existing applications continue to work and soon new, shining and beautiful ones will join them. At that time, not a single graphical shell over DOS had a serious advantage. The probability of victory was very high.

Microsoft had some very serious advantages. Firstly, she had a very good position for the development of the “ecosystem”, there were development tools, she could sell them very cheaply and was able to advertise Windows as a “new era”, something with ever increasing acceleration. Microsoft did not have conservative units that needed to be pacified.

Secondly, she had a very good relationship with PC manufacturers. They paid for MS-DOS regardless of whether they installed it on a PC. Buyers needed something capable of running dBase and Lotus 1-2-3. Microsoft could easily add Windows to all of these computers, and the first time Windows started was easy and painless.

Thirdly, the press and experts really wanted Microsoft to succeed and IBM to fail. Not because they were very fond of Microsoft. But the clones created a thriving market and no one wanted IBM to again control both hardware and software. No one wanted to return to a world ruled by one huge, vertically integrated giant. This was not obvious in the summer of 1990, three years after the announcement of OS / 2, when Windows 3.0, the first version with support for protected mode, was released. Almost the entire press considered Windows 3.0 yet another rival to the GEM shell and Quarterdeck memory expander .

Divorce

For many months before the release of Windows 3.0 in the summer of 1990, Microsoft distributed copies of it, which apparently went to all significant people in the industry. It was clear that Microsoft sees on Windows something more than a flower on the grave of MS-DOS and a farewell to the pre-OS / 2 world that is left somewhere behind. Nothing like this. Microsoft has done a lot of work to increase the attractiveness of Windows and overactively advertised it among developers. It was a "pseudo-platform", which is not actually a new OS, but allows developers to use a graphical interface. Fed up with the meager sales of OS / 2 products, developers reacted extremely positively. At the same time, Microsoft was obliged to continue demonstrating the 32-bit OS / 2 press, and there was everything that the 16-bit version was lacking.

The Microsoft Windows 3.0 pseudo-mutant platform was launched with a lot of noise and started selling well. It became clear that during 1989 at least some of the developers who studied OS / 2 Presentation Manager actually turned to Windows. Windows gave them a lot of opportunities and turned into a chance to get a market, even if it was modest and short-lived. But at least something was better than nothing. Soon, more and more applications began to appear under Windows, after which they started to flow, as large manufacturers of applications plugged holes in their portfolio. In just one month, Microsoft sold more copies of Windows than IBM copies of OS / 2 in two years.

During 1988 and 1989, IBM tried several times to convince Microsoft to close Windows, but Bill Gates refused. After that, the head of the PC division at IBM Jim Cannavino (Jim Cannavino) made, albeit an unintentional, but catastrophic mistake. Recognizing Microsoft's growing enthusiasm for Windows, he could neither admit that they were right and give the system any chance to break the agreement with Microsoft. As a result, Windows received a cool approval - the opportunity to come into the world and space for growth. Despite the complete incompatibility, the Windows APIs were positioned as a preliminary version of OS / 2. IBM had many opportunities to get rid of Microsoft and protect OS / 2, but this error was the most devastating.

This was in September 1989. The worst mistake IBM had was maintaining a partnership with Microsoft and abandoning attempts to suppress the development of Windows. The relationship between them quickly deteriorated, as Windows was sold in huge numbers.

The ecosystem benefits enjoyed by Ashton Tate and Lotus began to evaporate quickly. Windows provided drivers for devices. New skills came down to the ability to handle Windows. Knowing the intricate sequences of custom keyboard shortcuts was no longer an advantage. WordPerfect developers have been desperate to keep their position by moving keyboard shortcuts from DOS to the first version for Windows, but have not been successful.

March on industrial systems

In the business realm, Windows PCs began to be used to run awkward applications for forms end users. In May 1991, Microsoft launched Visual Basic, a scripting language with a graphical interface, primitive, but able to call procedures from compiled libraries. Windows also gave Microsoft application development a huge advantage. In the DOS world, the market share of Microsoft Multiplan and Word was small. But the positions of their Windows heirs, Excel and Word 2.0, were much stronger. In addition to this, Microsoft began selling a bundle of its office applications with an Access database and an email program much cheaper than its competitors. All Office for Wndows cost less than one dBase or Lotus 1-2-3.

For two years, IBM and Microsoft waged a PR war of attrition. IBM could not kill Windows and had to get rid of Microsoft. The inevitable divorce occurred in April 1991. According to the final agreement, IBM independently began to develop the 32-bit version of OS / 2 and received a license to include Windows code in it. Microsoft immediately stopped developing 16-bit OS / 2, although it continued to sell Microsoft OS / 2 LAN Manager for several years, reducing the font size of the OS / 2 word on the box.

Paul Carroll (Paul Carroll) in his book Big Blues: The Unmaking of IBM notes that at the time of the public divorce, Microsoft sold 13 million Windows 3.0 within a year, while IBM sold only 600,000 copies of OS / 2 in three years - of which only 300,000 were real sales - much less was actually used. In the wake of Windows sales and the demand for Microsoft Windows applications, the company has grown from 1,800 employees to 10,000.

But despite all this, the power was not on its side. As Gates himself later wrote

When they broke off all communications and decided to continue working without us, we thought: “Now we are on our own and it is definitely very, very scary.


And the worst thing was that in the 32-bit version of OS / 2 there was everything that 16-bit was so lacking. It was a very impressive system, it just was not completed yet.

The Empire Strikes Back

A new, 32-bit version of OS / 2 made full use of the capabilities of the Intel 386 processor: a flat memory model and the ability to virtualize DOS sessions while maintaining the connection between their processes. The 32-bit version also supported unreliable DOS memory extenders, giving DOS applications fast, 32-bit memory access so that they themselves did not notice it and running DOS applications running in OS / 2 protected against virtual sessions even worked better than earlier. IBM and Microsoft were equally proud of this. IBM took Microsoft Flight Simulator, one of the most demanding graphics applications for DOS - and ran one instance after another until a dozen started to work simultaneously.

Suddenly, OS / 2 began to look much better than its competitors, solving many of the DOS business users' problems that they had been plagued with for many years. Even Windows programs worked in multiple virtualized sessions faster than in DOS. OS / 2 combined the best features of all worlds: old DOS applications with their trained users and add-ons from third-party companies, a new wave of Windows applications and native OS / 2 applications.

However, the system was delayed. IBM decided to add OS / 2 splendor with the radically new Workplace Shell. It was not just a user interface, but a set of object-oriented class libraries that could be redefined or extended by developers. Workplace Shell added many features of Mac and its own new features to OS / 2. Even today, she looks very good. Oddly enough, but OS / 2 has become increasingly popular among enthusiasts, thanks in large part to the stunning demos of David Barnes, one of the great demos of our industry. Here is Barnes in all its splendor in 1993 .

Microsoft needed a beautiful story and they found it. They had a new, multi-user and portable to different processors operating system at an early stage of development. She was fateful. OS / 2 3.0 or OS / 2 NT has become one of the largest dummies (vapourware) in the history of the industry. In 1990, there was only a kernel capable of loading in it, only after three years someone was able to buy it, and only after six years it began to exert a noticeable influence on the market. But she radically changed the public opinion.

RISC Business and the Unix Killer

At that time, the ability to work on different processor architectures seemed very important. Conventional wisdom said that Intel’s microprocessor architecture was exhausted and the future for RISC. The workstation market was dominated by the new RISC processors from MIPS and Sun (SPARC), followed by DEC (Alpha) and IBM (Power). It was difficult to understand which of them would win in the end.

The new dummy platform also promised something that Unix manufacturers should have done but failed: a single platform with rich APIs. In the Unix world, tyranny of petty differences reigned. The developers fought for the smallest details that did not matter to most users. They made complex plans and conspiracies, united and diverged, threw away most of the attractive changes (like the NeWS Display Postscript UIfrom Sun) for the sake of fruitless attempts to find a compromise.

Unix was supposed to unite, but IBM entered into an all-except-Sun alliance under the name OSF and Microsoft's enterprising marketers were able to take advantage of the emerging vacuum. NT was a dummy, but Microsoft promised to help port it to MIPS, Alpha, and even IBM / Motorola PowerPC. The company promised that NT will run 16-bit OS / 2 and POSIX Unix libraries. Microsoft also promised a consistent Win32 API that allows programs to run on both NT and Windows DOS-based machines. In 1993, participants in the Unix wars realized the threat and signed a single “ Spec 1170 ”, but this did not bother anyone.

A non-existent platform enabled Microsoft to retain customers. Microsoft suggested customers wait for the 32-bit version of Windows, Chicago, which was due out in 1993. It was still DOS-based, but it offered the user many of the benefits of OS / 2, such as long filenames, and should have worked on 4 megabytes. They also had to prepare for the Unix killer, Windows NT. NT was not just to kill Unix, but also eventually turn into a comprehensive, omnipotent, object-oriented system Cairo .

Promises went beyond the clouds. IBM realized that it had the last chance to return the market and at least part of the multi-billion dollar development costs of OS / 2. In the fall of 1994, a fairly optimized version of OS / 2 3.0, Warp, was launched, accompanied by an unusual for IBM mass advertising on television. It came in two versions - one included Windows, the other used already installed on the Windows hard drive. IBM, much earlier than Microsoft realized the potential of the Internet, was the first OS to ship with a browser. Microsoft at that time was engaged in an ambitious project for a carefully fenced garden, the “Compuserve killer,” which was supposed to go into Chicago, and did not even include the TCP / IP stack on Windows.

For a short time, OS / 2 captured the imagination of a small part of customers, but could not change the situation on the market, largely because of all the major PC manufacturers, only IBM itself decided to sell computers with preinstalled OS / 2. IBM support was not able to work with untrained users. New users of OS / 2 were met by a laborious installation process, poor hardware support, and a small number of native applications. OS / 2 supported Windows applications so well that, in the absence of dangerous rivals among native OS / 2 applications, all serious developers focused on the much more profitable Windows market.

As a result, Chicago came out only in 1995 under the name Windows 95 and did not work on 4 megabytes. NT was too large and slow for the market, it lacked office applications - the promise of portability of Win 32 was never fulfilled. NT came out a year later and users demanded a Windows 95 shell. By then, the system architecture had changed so much that most of the promised features were never implemented. Microsoft introduced restrictions on the number of network connections for workstations (which could be used as department servers for this) and moved the graphics drivers to the kernel, sacrificing reliability for performance. Cairo was quietly forgotten.

The last spurt to fame

In the late summer of 1996, IBM acknowledged its defeat and transferred most of the programmers to other tasks. She released another version of OS / 2 in 1996, incorporating voice recognition and a more familiar interface. Support for this system lasted for many years. But the war was over - Microsoft won. The pointlessness of further development of OS / 2 by IBM CEO Lou Gerstner was finally convinced by the death of native OS / 2 applications. In part, IBM itself was to blame. The famous “Workplace OS” strategy implied launching personalized OS options on top of the microkernel - but could not attract customers and was not yet completed. More than 2,000 developers worked on the portable version of OS / 2, mainly designed for IBM workstations with RISC processors, but never brought it to a stable state.Taligent ended in nothing. IBM was unable to buy Apple. The tenacious Microsoft Win32 strategy has conquered the market.

WPS - WTF?!?


Workplace Shell first appeared in OS / 2 version 2.0, released in April 1992 - simultaneously with Windows 3.1. There is no task bar, no directory with programs, no system menu, no shutdown menu ... all applications are placed in the System directory. Minimized applications go to the folder. OS / 2 had a radically new interface that lacked many elements of modern UI. Where did he come from?

He was born out of IBM’s plans to create an “office of the future” —in research laboratories, in the literal sense of the word, came up with object-oriented functionality — that’s it in the 1990 print ads that preceded Workplace Shell.



AboveOfficeVision employed 1,500 programmers, but the project was never completed. To keep its promise to customers about developing a collaboration environment, IBM bought Lotus in 1996.

Such office automation was difficult to sell, but IBM emphasized their flexibility. They were so flexible that you could change the font and background image of each window and each window element individually. Workplace Shell also had more useful features. Like Mac shortcuts (links) to files tracked their movement. Template directories could contain applications and be cloned quickly. Closing the catalog minimized all applications and documents that were associated with it. There were other oddities. By default, the icons could not be moved with the mouse, although this quickly changed in the settings.

The latest version of OS / 2 included much more familiar elements. The system menu gave quick access to each file, and Mac icon designer Susan Kare, who also made icons for Windows 3.0, worked on the appearance of the icons.


OS / 2 Warp 3.0 in the fall of 1994. Under pressure from customers, OS / 2 added a hastily written taskbar.


Last fight: OS / 2 Warp 4.0 in 1996.

For some reason, IBM made deafening sounds for each action with the mouse (such as drag and drop).

Why did IBM lose?

Around Microsoft's rise to the pinnacle of the PC industry, passion is still seething. If in 1987 you said that Intel and Microsoft will determine the future of the industry for 10 years, you would simply be laughed at. Intel could not create a competitive RISC chip, and Microsoft never wrote operating systems. But the questions “Why did Microsoft win?” And “Why did IBM lose?” Have completely different answers.

IBM has never before faced such enterprising and ruthless competitors as Bill Gates. Gates fought fiercely and IBM was never able to get rid of it. But regardless of the presence of OS / 2, IBM could outplay it or even banally crush the mass if it developed a cohesive strategy that gives customers good reasons to spend money on IBM.

IBM could realize that in 1988 OS / 2 was too revolutionary for customers. She could take control of DOS and offer customers a smoother transition into the world of graphical interfaces. In fact, this is exactly what IBM was trying to do with a project called PM for DOS - which was never completed. It was already too late. IBM could buy Apple with the most attractive user interface and put it on a solid technological foundation. As an even more revolutionary solution, IBM could realize what the value of software really was and take the rivalry to the next level by creating a free platform like Linux.

Many alternatives to an alternative story can be offered - but most of them will remain a game of imagination. After Microsoft gained strength and captured the minds of the developers of the “single platform” OS / 2, it would be very difficult to bring them back. Another question is more interesting - why did Microsoft win?

First of all, Microsoft ruthlessly followed market requirements and cared only about the number of copies of Windows sold, it did not care about the attitude of others and the theoretical correctness of the actions taken. The market did not like Microsoft, but Microsoft brought money to the market. Manufacturers of software, hardware, peripherals - they all earned more with Microsoft. The programs infuriated you every day, but the “ecosystem” as a whole looked much healthier. IBM had no idea how to build new ecosystems. High authorities believed that if they make the system and it is good (and it eventually became so), then there will be buyers - simply because of the magical power of the three letters of IBM. The IBM sales team has mastered many dark techniques, including using other IBM products and services,

Microsoft was completely focused on one task. She did not compromise for the sake of appeasing units engaged in other products. Gates did not intend, as many then thought, to limit himself to writing applications and tools for other people's platforms. He wanted his platform. Microsoft did a very good job on Windows. Microsoft’s huge advantage was the extremely stringent license terms. PC makers had to pay Microsoft for DOS regardless of whether they installed it on computers or not - so why would they install alternatives? In the end, Microsoft lost the antitrust lawsuit and was forced to succumb to the requirements of Novell, Be, and Sun. But don't forget that two are needed for tango. Partly to blame for this and the short-sighted PC makers.

OEMs did not protest against such a policy of Microsoft and later it hit them themselves. After the deaths of competitors, Microsoft raised prices - this is one of the advantages of a monopoly position. As computer prices fell, more and more of the price went to Microsoft. Once high OEM profits plummeted. None of them could stand out from the crowd, Microsoft did not allow this - she insisted on a uniform "Windows experience". Sometimes it is more profitable for a business to sacrifice current profits in order to maintain competition and preserve future profits. Many are actively involved in this - but not the PC industry.



In the proceedings following the end of the OS war, many OS / 2 fans accused the computer press of total hostility to the system. In many ways, they were right - the journalists who used and praised OS / 2 can be counted on the fingers of one hand. One was John Lettice, the founder of The Register - the other is your humble servant. A beautiful OS / 2 2.0 souvenir from the illustration above still stands in our office. But the press simply reflected generally accepted then opinions and economic decisions. She also did not want a world in which IBM defines open system standards.

Everyone was so busy fighting the outgoing war that they did not notice the approach of a new one. In 1995, when the OS war was still raging in Usenet (although it was clear to everyone who won), Guy Kewney summed up his annoyance:

My friends tell me that Microsoft will save us from IBM. But who will save us from Microsoft?


Additionally, on OS / 2 - the recollections of the man who worked at IBM at that time (if they are interesting, you can also translate them)

IBM insider: How I caught my wife while bug-hunting on OS / 2
Where were the bullet holes on OS / 2's corpse? Its head ... or foot?

An alternative review of the history of OS / 2 on Habré with a detailed description of technical aspects

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