It’s better to avoid the dogs than select the stars. –Jim Lauderback on Suites of productivity apps (PC Week, 1993)
It’s fun to read the history of the struggles creating these products that seemed so relatively polished at the time.
Having said that, I still write with my fingers hovered over Ctrl+S from the long-term trauma caused by having lost one too many high school essays to Word 6.0.
Also, there are two guys where I work who still use slash shortcuts and @ formulas in Excel!
I remember being told that Lotus had over 100 developers for 123 for Windows and that is why it was late, whereas the core Excel team was just 12 developers. Imagine the overhead of having 100 developers communicating.
This is a great chapter. As written, you would not know that, say WordPerfect had shown a really good Windows product in the May 1990 COMDEX, which worked a lot like their already-shipping Mac product. In fact, seeing that and other Mac products "ported to Windows" at that COMDEX was a watershed for many of us in the valley; the half-decade discussion about which GUI platform would win was over for me once I said that, and I said so in my trip report to the Autodesk founders, who were still in charge at the time. With that event, I and my business cohorts turned off our NeXT machines and Macintoshes, and dedicated ourselves to Windows, after failed attempts to use it since 1986.
I licensed the file conversion tech from Mastersoft in Scottsdale for a database publishing product, and I think Microsoft did too, yes? Kent Mueller, the CEO at the time told me so. To me this was a huge feature for Word, because Word for Windows did a better job bringing WordPerfect DOS files forward than WordPerfect for Windows. I always thought that was an advantage for MSFT. Probably too much detail for you to get into.
This is a great chapter, and how the OPU and DAD solved the integration problem is super interesting. In particular, the emphasis on partnerships and collaboration, and the deliberate rejection of viewing interface points as dependencies holding back the success of individual components, are very reminiscent of the solutions that the large civil and mechanical infrastructure projects I work in put in place to solve the interface and integration challenges between individual project parties that are always a headline risk to the success of the overall project.
I hope you're able to dive into this in more detail in subsequent chapters.