"But because of shortcuts that IBM took to enter the market quickly, they released a product that was easily copied by other manufacturers using off the shelf, non-proprietary parts.

"IBM's biggest role in the evolution of the personal computer was to establish the de facto standard for hardware architecture amongst a wide range of manufacturers." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_

The tinker-ability, low cost, and ubiquity of the "PC" is due to a _huge mistake_ that is unlikely to ever be made again

@pho4cexa the IBM PC has as many histories as there are computer historians, but you can't discount the influence of IBM's decision to *license* the OS for their PC, rather than *buy* it. The PC "clone" market couldn't have emerged the way it did if IBM had owned DOS, not Microsoft. It's hard to know what would have happened, but it would have been very different.

@LWFlouisa @pho4cexa it depends. At the time "IBM compatibles" started emerging, there were many companies making home computers; Acorn, Commodore, Atari, Apple, Spectrum, BBC, and others. Microsoft and the IBM clone makers ate their lunch and they all vanished. I don't remember seeing any new tech from any of them in the 90s (Apple being a special case), certainly they were all history by the turn of the century.

@LWFlouisa @pho4cexa if IBM had owned DOS, here's my guess. MS would have been a footnote in history. Apple would have made a fortune with the first PC with a GUI. In order to compete, IBM, and all the other companies (incl. the would-be clone makers) would have had to get behind a OS as a common standard. So -Linux (or ) would have played the cross-platform role Microsoft did in our timeline. Open software would have been more of a thing, open hardware, maybe not so much?

@strypey @LWFlouisa you don't think OS/2 would have had a much longer life instead?

back then there was a LOT more resistance to free and open source; if they had to collaborate i'd expect it would be done in the traditional capitalist way, with business contracts (that eventually fall apart to the detriment of customers whenever there's a corporate spat, like Netflix vs. Amazon vs. Disney)

@pho4cexa @LWFlouisa the resistance to software being free came primarily from Microsoft. Before that, according to Stallman, it was pretty normal to share source. The hardware was seen as the commodity. MS owning DOS (then Windows) but not the hardware business was arguably the anomaly that created proprietary software as we know it. Did OS/2 have a GUI? If not, it was still doomed unless IMB could develop one one their own.


@pho4cexa @LWFlouisa look at the way IBM, Novell, Apple, basically everyone who isn't Microsoft, ended up gathering around and . Without the leverage Microsoft gained by owning DOS (then building the Windows and Office business on the platform monoply that gave them), I think that would have happened much sooner.

@LWFlouisa @pho4cexa in the digital realm, yes, I would say so. All the other major powers online (Apple, goOgle, FarceBook, Amazon), have emerged since Microsoft got big.

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