Chronology of Personal Computer Software

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Last updated: 2022 April 29.


  • Walt Disney Productions introduces a line of home computer software featuring Mickey Mouse and friends. [977.29]
  • Visicorp sues Software Arts for US$60 million in damages for late delivery of advances in the VisiCalc. [346.110] [1340.S3.12]
  • Lotus Development ships Lotus 1-2-3 Release 1.0 for MS-DOS. US$1 million was spent on promoting the release. It requires 256 kB of RAM, more than any microcomputer program at the time. Jonathan Sachs was the programmer, with Mitch Kapor as the software designer. [41] [217] [120] [346.111] [502.49] [548.429] [627.5,73] [618] [618.149] [1298.188]
(month unknown)
  • Sierra On-Line releases the Lode Runner game for personal computers. (Total sales over its lifetime: 2.5 million copies.) [1475.14]
  • MicroProse releases the Hellcat Ace flight simulator game. [1068.8]
  • MicroProse releases the Floyd of the Jungle game. [1068.8]
  • MicroProse releases the Chopper Rescue game. [1068.8]
  • Supersoft withdraws its C compilers for CP/M-86 and MS-DOS, to further develop them prior to re-release. [901.20]
  • Microsoft announces MS-DOS 2.0 for PCs. It features support for 10 MB hard drives and 360 kB floppy disks, and a hierarchical file system. The source code, completely re-written, is five times longer than DOS 1.0, at 20,000 lines. [117] [130] [146] [346.264] [748.29] [1149.216] [1298.188] [1639.105]
  • IBM releases IBM Personal Computer Disk Operating System v2.00 (PC-DOS), with BASIC v2.00. Price is US$60. [902.298]
(month unknown)
  • Microsoft shows IBM a raw version of Windows. IBM is not interested as they are already developing what would be called TopView. [45]
  • Personal computer word processor market share: WordStar 50%. [1149.239]
  • Microsoft introduces XENIX 3.0. [346.264]
  • Microsoft introduces Multi-Tool Word for DOS (later renamed Microsoft Word) word processing program at Spring COMDEX. [346.127] [1149.238] (May [123]) (September [123])
  • Microsoft gives a "smoke-and-mirrors" demonstration of Interface Manager (later called Windows), which consists entirely of overlapping windows, appearing to be running programs simultaneously. [477.160] [1299.220]
  • Lotus Development ships Lotus 1-2-3 Release 1.0A. [217] (September 1985 [502.49])
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  • Freefall Associates completes work on the Murder on the Zinderneuf game. [241.109]
May 20
  • Electronic Arts releases the Worms game for the Atari 800. [241.75]
  • Electronic Arts releases the Archon game for the Atari 800. The game was developed by Freefall Associates. [241.75] [2229.122] (May 21 [2636.264])
  • Electronic Arts releases the M.U.L.E. game for the Atari 800. [241.75] [1504.157] [2229.119]
  • Electronic Arts releases The Pinball Construction Set software for the Atari 800. [241.75] [2636.264]
  • Electronic Arts releases the Axis Assassin game for the Atari 800. [241.75]
May 21
  • Electronic Arts releases the Hard Hat Mack game for personal computers. [2636.264]
(month unknown)
  • Digital Research introduces enhanced CP/M-86 for the IBM PC. It includes a printer spooler, and improved graphics. It can use up to 16 64 kB banks of memory, files can be time and date stamped, passwords can be assigned to a whole disk or individual files. Price is US$350. [529.198] [1213.142]
  • Crystal Rose releases the Doodle paint program for the Commodore 64. [1710.35]
  • Commodore releases the Simons' BASIC cartridge for the Commodore 64, adding over 100 commands. [1794.55]
  • MicroProse releases the Solo Flight flight simulator game. [1068.8]
  • Eric Hammond begins writing a backetball game for the Apple II, featuring Julius Erving and Larry Bird. (Electronic Arts will release the game in December as Julius Erving & Larry Bird Go One-On-One.) [668.67]
  • Software Systems introduces the MultiMate word processing software. [1298.188]
  • George Tate, of Ashton-Tate, buys all rights to dBase II from Wayne Ratliff, and hires him as head of development for dBase III. [618.262]
  • Digital Communications Associates introduces the Crosstalk XVI communications program for PCs. [688.234]
  • Jay Lucas coins term "shareware" to describe software distributed free or for a small copying fee. [1229.R10]
  • Novell introduces the NetWare network operating system for the IBM PC. [620.123] [682.154]
  • Digital Research releases its first version of the GEM graphical windowing operating system. [618.220]
  • Electronic Arts releases the Seven Cities of Gold software for personal computers in the USA. [2229.119]
  • Tom Mack releases the first version of RBBS for MS-DOS, the first shareware program for running an online electronic bulletin board system. [489.105]
  • Microsoft releases XENIX 2.3A. [951.255]
  • A US Federal Court of Appeals rules that Franklin Computer did violate Apple Computer copyrights on computer programs and the Apple Computer operating system on ROM chips. This overturns a lower court's ruling that programs on chips are indistinguishable from the hardware itself, which is not subject to copyrights, only patent protection. [80] [983.D5]
(month unknown)
  • Sorcin Corporation releases the Superwriter word processor for IBM PC-DOS, for US$295. [902]
  • Microsoft officially releases Microsoft Word for MS-DOS 1.0, for US$375, or US$475 with the Microsoft Mouse. Original name was Multi-Tool Word. [346.129] [502.49] [1149.242] [1298.188] [1559] [1631.40] (November [1299.222,239])
  • Quicksoft introduces PC-Write word processor for the IBM PC. The program is sold as shareware for a US$10 disk copy fee. Registration and manual cost US$75. [1229.R10]
  • Microsoft France releases Multiplan for the Apple II. [346.118]
  • The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rules in a lawsuit by Apple Computer against another company that virtually all computer programs can be copyrighted, as they are separate from the computer chips on which they are stored. [1284.D4]
  • VisiCorp files a lawsuit against Software Arts, claiming the company failed to make timely updates to the spreadsheet software. [1299.244]
(month unknown)
  • Modula Research Institute announces full a Modula-2 compiler for MS-DOS, for US$40. [902.7]
  • Ovation Technologies announces Ovation Software for MS-DOS. The package combines spreadsheet, word processing, graphics, database management, and communications capabilities. Price is expected to be US$700-900 in early 1984. [902.7]
  • Electronic Arts releases the Archon game for the Commodore 64. [241.111]
  • Electronic Arts releases the M.U.L.E. game for the Commodore 64. [241.111]
  • Electronic Arts releases The Pinball Construction Set software for the Commodore 64. [241.111]
  • Visicorp releases VisiOn, an integrated software environment for PCs, for US$1795. It requires 512 kB RAM and a hard disk. [348.69] [346.177] [1149.256] [1639.108] [1639.108] [1648.52] (November [346.285] [618.219] [1299.244]) (early 1984 [909.236])
  • Quarterdeck announces it would build a graphical user interface for DOS called DESQ. [1149.256]
(month unknown)
  • Inkwell Systems releases the Flexidraw 2.1 drawing software for the Commodore 64. It includes the 170-C light-pen. Price is US$150. [1148.53]
  • Microsoft again shows Windows to IBM, and again IBM is not interested. [45]
November 10
  • At the Helmsley Palace Hotel in New York City, Microsoft formally announces Microsoft Windows for the IBM PC. This is the most elaborate product introduction in industry history. Windows is promised for release in April, 1984. Bill Gates predicts that by the end of 1984, Windows would be used on over 90% of all IBM compatible PCs. (The first version doesn't even ship until late 1985.) [9] [45] [123] [137] [228.53] [346.177] [389.28] [416.67] [477.158] [548.159] [909.228] [1149.258] [1299.241] [1639.108] [1648.52] [2605.170]
  • Satellite Software International ships WordPerfect 3.0 for US$500. [330.108] [502.49]
  • Satellite Software International ships Personal WordPerfect for US$200. [330.108]
  • Borland International releases the Turbo Pascal software development package for CP/M and 8086-based computers. It includes a compiler and integrated programming environment. price is US$49.95. [176.122] [1299.261] (first advertised in October [9] [346.265]) (ships in 1984 [795.90])
  • Apple Computer releases AppleWorks software for the Apple II. AppleWorks is one of the first integrated software packages, with modules for word processing, database management, and spreadsheet calculations. It was written by Rupert Lissner. [1886.65] (1984 [218])
(month unknown)
  • Mosaic Software announces Integrated Six, with spreadsheet, database management, word processing, graphics, communications, and terminal emulator. Price is US$495. [910.8]
  • Scientia introduces Concept VP, a window-oriented operating environment for the IBM PC. Price is US$350. [910.8]
  • Microsoft begins project Odyssey, a new spreadsheet program designed to be better and faster than Lotus 1-2-3. (It will eventually emerge as Excel.) [1149.278] [1299.259]
  • In Australia, a federal court rules that computer ROM programs are not literary works, and as such are not protected by Australian copyright law. Apple Computer had sued an Australian computer dealer for copyright infringement of the Taiwan-made Wombat computer. [901.8]
  • Digital Research, Zilog, and American Microsystems agree to put Personal CP/M on some Z80 microprocessors, to be manufactured by American Microsystems. [901.7]
  • Peachtree Software introduces PeachText 5000 for IBM PC computers, with PeachText word processor, Random House Electronic Thesaurus, Spelling Proofreader, List Manager, Peachcalc Spreadsheet. Price is US$395. [949.187]
December 5
  • Electronic Arts introduces the Julius Erving & Larry Bird Go One-On-One basketball game for the Apple II computer. [668.66]
  • Vernon Buerg releases the first version of List, a popular file-browsing utility for MS-DOS. [489.103]
  • In exchange for some software work Tim Paterson had done for Microsoft, Paul Allen grants Paterson's Falcon Technology company a royalty-free license to include MS-DOS with their hardware products. (In 1986, Microsoft buys back the license for about US$1 million.) [1299.311] (1982 [1149.341])
  • Worldwide spreadsheet sales for the year: 539,000 units. [627.73]
  • Market share of spreadsheet software for the year: Lotus 1-2-3 37%. [627.73]

End of 1983. Next: 1984.
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