If you’ve been using Microsoft Word for the past quarter of a century, it can seem like Word has always been the top dog of the word-processing world–and for years, it’s been incorporated into Microsoft’s Office suite. Today, Microsoft’s domination is so complete that, from the public’s point of view, there is almost no “word-processor market.” (Does anyone remember Lotus Manuscript?)
In fact, Microsoft’s word processing program got off to a shaky and awkward start in October 1983, and it didn’t become all-consuming until at least five years later. Even as Word adopted the market-leading position, it suffered its share of stinging criticisms and setbacks. This is the story, briefly, of how Microsoft Word evolved on its 25-year journey from obscure upstart to Absolute King of the (Software) World.
(Benj Edwards is the founder and editor in chief of Vintage Computing and Gaming.)