25 Years Ago this week, Microsoft released Microsoft Word 1.0 for MS-DOS and Xenix. To examine this anniversary, I wrote an article for PC World, which they published yesterday.
You'd think that Microsoft Word (of all things) would be a mundane topic to write about, but in fact, it was thoroughly interesting learning experience. Word hasn't always been at the top of the word processor heap, and its origins in the murky depths of Microsoft Xenix are quirky, to say the least. Seemingly countless versions of Word have been released over the years, so I got to twiddle around with dozens of elderly versions of the world's most popular word processing software.
My investigations into Word history also led me to enlightening conversations with ex-Xerox, ex-Microsoft, now-billionaire Charles Simonyi in Moscow (training for his second space tourist flight); Richard Brodie (gambler extraordinaire, author of Word 1.0); and Xenix guru Antoni Sawicki, who provided the Word for Xenix screenshot. Uncovering history from those who lived it is a fascinating and priceless experience, and it's what keeps me coming back to write more history pieces every month. Stay tuned; there's more on the way.