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Visicalc was first, but I think it was Lotus 123 that really made spreadsheets popular; it was absolutely huge back in the day.

Yes. Excel took a long time to topple Lotus 123, but Lotus's failure to move to a GUI quickly enough saw Excel win.

DOS Microsoft Word was before Excel I think.

It was a similar story with Word Perfect, their failure to move to a GUI basically handed MS Word market dominance. Their belated port of the DOS UI was very awkward at first, and the move to 32-bit in 95 was the final straw.

The "original" Word, before Windows, was available for DOS and Xenix - I actually saw some systems using Word on Xenix in '88.

I've actually used MS Word on Windows 1.0 (around 1985ish I think).

It was .... well, basically unusably horrible. As you typed, it would swap stuff in/out from floppy disk; as you might imagine, this made even just entering text an excruciating experience.

Luckily for MS, systems eventually got more memory and hard disks...

The time I saw MS Word deployed on a Xenix box it didn't work terribly well - was fine on the system console but was barely usable on serial terminals as the make of terminals (Wyse something or other) had Alt keys which did nothing. And, as far as I recall, the Alt key was pretty important in Word.

Of course, this wasn't Microsoft's fault - rather the idiotic salesman who had sold all of this without checking with anyone whether it would work or not.

I think Quattro was the #2 (behind Lotus) for a while - ahead of Excel. Borland just seemed to have an uncanny talent for running products into the ground.

Borland certainly did, but they also had plenty of bad luck.

Just as they were getting close to finishing Quattro Pro, their head offices were hit by the 1989 World Series Earthquake (they were very close to the epicenter).

Apparently, many of their computers survived the earthquake itself but were rained on by the damaged sprinkler system and covered in mushy ceiling tile debris. They commandeered a tennis court to try to dry off, clean and revive as many of the computers as they could

They did end up releasing Quattro Pro, but then were soon sued by Lotus.


Reminds me of their word processor Sprint. Quite a fancy product of its time:


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