Image Map Image Map
Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123
Results 21 to 29 of 29

Thread: A No-Microsoft Alternate Universe

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    Blog Entries


    I'm guessing Commodore would have found or created a BASIC interpreter of their own, one way or another - they bought MOS and they weren't going back to making calculators. I'm thinking Apple would have probably found someone to rework Integer BASIC, if not Woz himself, out of pure necessity.

    I'm not sure what happens to all the other companies that licenced MS BASIC though. I'd guess not everyone had the time or resources to develop their own.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Outer Mongolia


    The TRS-80 originally shipped with "Level I BASIC", which was a variation of Palo Alto Tiny Basic, I'm sure they would have worked something out if Microsoft hadn't been around to license Level II from.

    Bill Gates himself related that when they sent their offer to MITS to write a BASIC for the Altair they figured they had a window of a month or two at most before someone beat them to the punch so, yeah, Microsoft was in fact *founded* on the idea that anyone and their dog can write a BASIC interpreter, it's all about getting there first and becoming the "Standard".
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  3. #23


    My biased prediction would be that the Tandy would have gone through with 256 colors for the Coco 3. And then egghead executive wouldn't have killed the line and thus a CoCo 4 running OS9 on 68K would have been one of the choices for GUI based machines. (ie Mac, ST, Amiga the others.)

    Perhaps in time Microware could have sold OS9 to other vendors beyond the niche vendors they did.

    I also didn't see any props put on Japanese makers... Maybe without Microsoft... we would have has Sharp X68000 in the USA.


  4. #24


    I don't think the balance would've changed too much with the Japanese manufacturers. The X68000 was basically occupying the same ecological niche as the Amiga, except that it offered better high-resolution support in order to have better kanji rendering. Same goes for the PC-88 series and, say, roughly, the Tandy 1000 line. Nobody needed that outside of east Asia badly enough to pay extra for it, so widespread high-res high-color graphics didn't really take off in the West until the "multimedia" revolution in the early-to-mid-'90s.
    Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
    Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Proteus/2, Moog Satellite, Oberheim SEM
    "'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Penticton, B.C.


    I think that the Japanese market would have been drastically affected. MSX wouldn't have existed, and that set the stage for pretty much every Japanese design for years to come, including the X68000. Would Sharp have even made computers if it weren't for MSX machines and their pocket computers?

    Oh, we wouldn't have the Tandy Model 100, or their Japanese counterparts like the NEC version either.

    Lets face it, Microsoft actively engaged with a lot of hardware designers over the years. It's one thing to replace a BASIC in ROM, but the whole design including hardware is harder to explain away.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Outer Mongolia


    Quote Originally Posted by lotonah View Post
    Lets face it, Microsoft actively engaged with a lot of hardware designers over the years. It's one thing to replace a BASIC in ROM, but the whole design including hardware is harder to explain away.
    That is possibly an area where Microsoft doesn't get as much credit as they deserve, because they did fill this niche of serving as a third-party hardware and OS design consulting agency. The fact that they never decided to make their *own* computer to run their software put them in a unique position to get their fingers into everyone else's business in a way that never would have crossed the mind of most legacy computer companies. (Where such activities would pose on obvious conflict of interest.) Another individual certainly would have thrown together a BASIC for the Altair if Bill Gates hadn't, but they might have just hitched their wagon to that one company and died when MITS did. Software as a thing of value separate from the widget it ran on was kind of a novel idea.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  7. #27


    I think the IBM PC still would have been successful. The IBM PC was also offered with two other Operating Systems (Digital Research CP/M-86 and UCSD p-System). If Microsoft wasn’t around, CP/M-86 might have been ready six months earlier for the IBM PC debut of August 1981.

    Popular programs for CP/M (8-Bit) and the Apple II were ported over to the IBM PC. Instead of porting over to IBM PC-DOS/MS-DOS they would have been ported over to CP/M-86 for the IBM PC.

    1) VisiCalc for Apple II ported to IBM PC - 1981
    2) EasyWriter for Apple II ported to IBM PC - 1981
    3) dBASE for CP/M ported to IBM PC -1982
    4) Supercalc for CP/M ported to IBM PC - 1982
    5) Wordstar for CP/M ported to IBM PC - 1982

    Other popular programs would probably have been made.

    1) Satellite Software International was incorporated in Utah in 1979, the makers of Wordperfect. WordPerfect 2.20 for the IBM PC - 1982
    2) IBM DisplayWriter Software for the IBM PC_XT – 1984
    3) Lotus was founded in April 1982, the makers of Lotus 1-2-3, which was officially released in November 1982.

    Three of the biggest IBM PC Programs of the mid 1980’s were WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3 and dBase.

    The IBM PC Compatible really didn’t take off until May 1984. Phoenix developed a legal BIOS, Phoenix used a clean room design. The first Phoenix PC ROM BIOS was introduced in May 1984, which enabled OEMs such as Hewlett-Packard, Tandy Corporation, and AT&T Computer Systems to build essentially 100%-compatible clones without having to reverse-engineer the PC BIOS themselves as Compaq had.
    Phoenix Software Associates was formed in 1979.

    Compaq was founded in February 1982. Compaq’s first Computer was announced in November 1982 and first shipped in March 1983 (Compaq Portable).

    Some information taken from

  8. #28


    The Commodore Amiga and Atari ST might have sold more units and the brands might have lasted longer into the PowerPC Microprocessor era. The Graphics and Sound quality of the IBM PC Compatible Computers had caught up and surpassed the Amiga and Atari ST Models of 1992.

    Then again, the 8KB (Kilobyte) Memory Chip had attained volume production in 1981. If nothing else, there was plenty of memory out there for Computer makers. Production quantities of 32KB Memory Chips were introduced in 1983 and Wang Laboratories developed the SIMM Module in 1983. The Wang SIMM more than quadruples the amount of memory that can be positioned within a specified area on a printed circuit board.

    Wang 72K Byte SIMM (single in-line memory module) 30-pin, (nine, 8K Byte DRAM’s).

    Then there's DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation), Xerox and Wang Laboratories, they might have been first, instead of IBM.

  9. #29

    Default Other BASIC Language versions in 1978

    BASIC (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) was introduced in 1964, Dartmouth College BASIC.

    Some BASIC Versions used in 1978:

    BASIC-E for CP/M version 1 & 2
    (Compiler Systems CBASIC version 1 & 2, commercial version or BASIC-E for CP/M)
    Li-Chen Wang's Palo Alto Tiny BASIC
    Southwest Technical Products Corporation SWTPC 68OO BASIC
    MSI Disk BASIC
    Technical Design Labs TDL ZAPPLE BASIC
    Processor Technology Sol BASIC
    Cromemco Extended BASIC
    Ohio Scientific BASIC
    IMS Associates IMSAI BASIC
    North Star Disk BASIC
    PolyMorphic BASIC
    Xitan Inc. XDB Xitan Disk BASIC
    Mark Williams Company XYBASIC

    As for Microsoft (Altair) BASIC, it's based on DEC BASIC PLUS (Digital Equipment Corporation).


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts