"There is a sub-genre of historical fiction one could loosely call 'what-ifs'. The computer industry also has a number of such obvious what if scenarios. What if Bill Gates and Paul Allen hadn't lucked into the IBM contract for DOS, which was the basis for Microsoft's eventual hegemony? What if the UNIX operating system hadn't split into several minor variants, but gone on to become what Linux later became, only a decade or two before? What if BeOS had gone on to succeed on the desktop...?"