Windows vs. OS/2

Microsoft bested its sometimes partner IBM on the operating system front


How Microsoft Windows bested partner IBM’s OS/2 operating system

Dr. Phil might tell you that no one wins an argument, but spare us the hugs and psychology. IBM no longer ships (R.I.P. 2005) or supports (R.I.P. 2006) OS/2, which is now sold under the name eComStation by Serenity Systems. Try getting that factory installed on a Dell laptop.

The history on Windows is a bit richer (in many ways) and proves the good doctor wrong.

Of course, the irony is that IBM and Microsoft teamed up in 1985 to develop OS/2. Two years later they had a product. Three years after that, Microsoft had Windows 3.0 shipping on many PCs and was on its way toward NT while OS/2 was gathering dust on computer super store shelves as a standalone product that lacked a full complement of device drivers. The IBM/Microsoft relationship continued to sour and by the time the last version of OS/2 – the Warp 4 version – shipped in 1996, IBM was on its own.

Today, OS/2, with the dubious distinction of being the first OS to have a fan club, can be found in small pockets of the computer landscape such as bank automated teller machines and the French national railway’s ticket machines.

Windows? We won’t bother rebooting that story here.

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