Word processing gets a huge impulse (1989)

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Written by: 360.org

Friday, 10 November 2017

1989 -

Today is the birthday of WordPerfect’s most successful version: WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS. It had a lot of ‘firsts’ in word processing-world. For instance it included text-based Macintosh-style as well as CUA-Style. But it also had novelties like ‘Print Preview’. Something nobody had seen till then.

WordPerfect wins the competition
WordPerfect was already developed in 1979 under contract at Brigham Young University, for use on a Data General minicomputer. The authors started a company called Satellite Software International (SSI) and eventually retained the rights to the program. Several updated versions of WordPerfect quickly followed. WordPerfect’s feature list was considerably more advanced than its main competitor WordStar. Unlike WordStar, using only the CTRL key, WordPerfect used for almost any function a combination of the CTRL, ALT and Shift keys, in combination with other keys.

WordPerfect loses the competition
By 1989 WordPerfect had become a standard in the DOS market. And many conferences and magazines insisted that people ship their documents in 5.1 format, because all processors could read and convert the format. The WordPerfect Line was sold twice. First to Novell in 1994 and then to Corel in 1996. After 2000 WordPerfect got too much competition and got rapidly displaced by Microsoft’s Word.

360 trivial fact
Novell filed an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft, accusing the company of anti-competitive behaviour. The lawsuit that was filed in 2004 was dismissed in July 2012 after several delays. The judge decided Microsoft was not to blame for WordPerfect’s downfall.



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