Word turns 40: From 'new kid on the block' to 'I can't believe it's not bloatware'

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Microsoft's Word is 40 years aged today. Celebrations aside, it's worthy pointing retired nan productivity juggernaut of 2023 was not ever nan bloated behemoth that is recovered connected truthful galore workstations.

The very first type of Word – aliases Multi-Tool Word arsenic it was initially known – came retired connected October 25, 1983 for Xenix and MS-DOS. It featured 16-bit graphics and matter mode support, arsenic good arsenic support for that newfangled clicky thing, nan mouse.

Coded by a squad that included specified luminaries-to-be arsenic Charles Simonyi – who had antecedently worked astatine Xerox PARC and would later spell connected to occurrence successful Microsoft's exertion section – it is adjacent to opportunity that Word was not rather an overnight success.

It faced stiff title from incumbents, specified arsenic WordStar, which, astatine nan clip of Word's release, accounted for astir a 4th of nan connection processor market. WordPerfect besides presented a threat, having debuted connected DOS nan erstwhile year.

The first type of Word was not precisely a WYSIWYG application, but Microsoft soldiered connected and added features incrementally complete nan years until nan last loop – Word 6.0 for DOS successful 1993. By then, location was a caller Word successful municipality that would laic discarded to each earlier it – Word for Windows.

Word for Windows would spell from obscurity to accounting for 90 percent of nan connection processor marketplace by gross successful nether 10 years.

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The first Windows type of Word appeared successful 1989, but it took nan merchandise of Windows 3.0 successful 1990 to springiness nan package nan tremendous commercialized occurrence pinch which it is associated today. Word for Windows 2.0 emerged successful 1991 and was, to nan mind of this writer, highest Word for Windows earlier nan bloat began to group successful pinch Word 6.0 for Windows, and nan kilos piled on.

The existent version is dubbed Word for Office 365, and we person nary uncertainty that Microsoft's brightest minds are presently focused connected really to shoehorn nan letters "AI" successful there.

However, backmost successful 1983, Word was conscionable 1 action successful a connection processor marketplace dominated by nan competition. Just arsenic Word erstwhile challenged nan power of its rivals, it has seen its marketplace stock eroded successful caller years by competitors for illustration Google Docs.

The root codification for Word 1.1a, first released successful 1984, tin beryllium recovered astatine nan Computer History Museum.

The ZIP record comes successful astatine conscionable nether 7 megabytes. Imagine that. ®