Posts Tagged ‘history’

MS-DOS paternity suit settled

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

An overlooked court case in Seattle has helped restore the reputation of the late computer pioneer Gary Kildall.

Last week, a Judge dismissed a defamation law suit brought by Tim Paterson, who sold a computer operating system to Microsoft in 1980, against journalist and author Sir Harold Evans and his publisher Little Brown. The software became the basis of Microsoft’s MS-DOS monopoly, and the basis of its dominance of the PC industry.

But history has overlooked the contribution of Kildall, who Evans justifiably described as “the true founder of the personal computer revolution and the father of PC software” in a book published three years ago.
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Psion: The story of the Last Computer

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

This long (40-page) history of Britain’s last computer company, Psion, was written over four days. It’s the longest piece The Register has ever run, we made it available as a PDF (for a small fee).

Included are full transcripts of interviews with David Potter, Martin Riddiford, Mark Gretton, David Tupman and Nick Healey. (Charles Davies was interviewed too late for inclusion).

Start here.

Yes, we have no incompatibilties

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Savour this irony.

Last week, we learned that incompatibilities Microsoft hadn’t written into its operating system posed a grave threat to users. Last week, we also learned that genuine incompatibilities Microsoft had deliberately written into its operating system posed no threat at all.
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The worse Google gets, the more money it makes?

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006
Microsoft today is barely acquainted with how its software is produced. Now Google’s search results look similarly out of whack.

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when the mainstream press was barely acquainted with the genius and foresight of today’s technology leaders.

Fifteen years ago Bill Gates appeared on the BBC’s Wogan show – which the Beeb thought of as a nightly Johnny Carson, but which was really like watching Regis Philbin on cough syrup – to show off his WinPad PC. The wooden Gates made a joke about making his money disappear, with only a couple of clicks, using only a stylus. As Gates blinked, a nation which had never heard of Microsoft, and couldn’t quite figure out why the guy in glasses wasn’t singing or dancing, looked on in sympathetic embarrassment.

But Gates’s prime time TV appearance underscored one point, popular in the public prints at the time, which was that a nerdish, upstart technology was changing the very foundations of the world as we know it. Microsoft was simply smarter, more agile, more cunning, and far more darkly mysterious than the fusty incumbents, like IBM, could ever realize. To stand in the way of Microsoft was to stand in the way of youth, innovation and progress itself.

Now, it may puzzle you as much as it puzzles us that this idea ever gained popular currency – let’s save that discussion for another day. But it can’t have escaped your notice that this mythical struggle has been reprised by the inkies several times – in the mid-1990s with Netscape – and today with the phoney war between Microsoft and Google.

If you’re of the view that history repeats itself the second time round as farce, then the parallels are even more uncomfortable.

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