Why did Microsoft Word beat WordPerfect

Microsoft publishes source code for DOS and Word

Hans-Christian Dirscherl

Microsoft has made the MS-DOS source code freely accessible to anyone interested. You can also download the source code of Word 1.1a. Free.

EnlargeDOS were still shipped on many floppy disks.

It all started with MS-DOS. Today's Microsoft empire is based on this simple, resource-saving, non-multi-tasking operating system with a black screen background and blinking cursor. Microsoft has now released the source code for this software veteran for everyone to download via the Computer History Museum. More precisely, it is the source code of MS-DOS 1.0 and 2.0. Microsoft also released the source code of Microsoft Word for Windows version 1.1a. Both downloads are available as ZIP archives, the MS-DOS ZIP is not even 1 MB, the ZIP archive from Word weighs 6.8 MB.

EnlargeFor Windows and touchscreen-spoiled users, the DOS prompt may be a bleak sight, but the hearts of real technology fans are beating faster now.


The move comes as a complete surprise and without notice. The downloads may only be used for private purposes and may not be distributed further on the Internet.

In addition to or after the interpreter for the BASIC programming language, MS-DOS was the first important product of the then still small company Microsoft (which was originally written as Micro-Soft). At the time MS-DOS was programmed, and then Word, Microsoft had fewer than 100 employees.

The basis for DOS was an OS license from Seattle Computer Products because Microsoft did not have its own OS on hand when IBM inquired in 1981. On this basis, however, Microsoft then further developed its own operating system. PC DOS version 1.0 was shipped with the first IBM PC in August 1981. DOS 2.0 followed with the IBM PC-XT in March 1983.

The history of Microsoft Office

Word for DOS also appeared in 1983, when WordPerfect dominated the word processing market. But Word took up the fight and finally overtook the top dog. In 1989 Microsoft published the word processor Word for Windows.

You can install MS-DOS from the ZIP archive on an old 8086 PC and try it out.

If you still need a few clever DOS commands, you will find them here: The most important CMD commands for Windows