Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 25th Nov 2013 17:32 UTC, submitted by toralux
OS/2 and eComStation

It was now 1984, and IBM had a different problem: DOS was pretty much still a quick and dirty hack. The only real new thing that had been added to it was directory support so that files could be organized a bit better on the IBM PC/AT’s new hard disk. And thanks to the deal that IBM signed in 1980, the cloners could get the exact same copy of DOS and run exactly the same software. IBM needed to design a brand new operating system to differentiate the company from the clones. Committees were formed and meetings were held, and the new operating system was graced with a name: OS/2.

Fantastic article at Ars Technica about the rise and demise of IBM's OS/2. OS/2 is one of those big 'what-ifs' of the technology world, along the lines of 'what if Apple had purchased Be instead of NEXT' or 'what if Nokia had opted for Android' (sorry). Our technology world could've been a lot different had OS/2 won over Windows 3.x/95.

I reviewed OS/2 as it exists today (eComStation) six years ago.

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RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by christian on Tue 26th Nov 2013 13:52 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
christian
Member since:
2005-07-06

"From what I read in the article it might have meant that IBM had locked up the pc industry. They might have done even more damage than MS did.


Exactly. Microsoft pioneered the then-revolutionary idea of being able to choose from multiple OEMs and later being able to even build your own computer to run the OS. Everything other (well-known) OS in the personal computing arena back then was wedded to overpriced hardware.

And there is no reason to believe IBM wouldn't have done everything MS did, considering IBM's track record, with the addition of the wedded to hardware thing MS didn't do.
"

I dare say, IBM were already on a consent decree with the DOJ by then for their previous shadowy business practices, so might not have had an opportunity to "do a Microsoft".

Had OEMs been free to license OS/2, they might have done and at a price competitive with DOS+Windows (which were two products then, remember).

That's not to say IBM would have done so, mind. They might have blown it anyway, but they did at least try courting the OEMs.

And anyway, being able to choose from multiple OEMs was hardly a pioneering MS idea. It was the OEMs themselves that made the hardware compatible with IBM PCs (and hence DOS) and CP/M before it was an example of a single OS with multiple OEMs.

Now to read the actual article....

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