Chronology of Personal Computer Software

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References are numbered in [brackets], which are listed here. A number after the dot gives the page in the source.

Last updated: 2022 April 29.


1984

January 4
  • Franklin Computer agrees to pay US$2.5 million in damages to Apple Computer for copyright infringement of the operating system used in the Apple II computer. Franklin Computer agrees to cease selling their cloned operating system by April 1. [982.D4]
January 12
  • IBM announces the Personal Computer Interactive Executive operating system. It is the UNIX system licensed from AT&T, and developed for IBM by Interactive Systems Corp. Price is expected to be US$900 in April. [992.D3]
January 15
  • Steve Jobs and Bill Gates sign an agreement rescinding their original Macintosh applications contract, allowing Microsoft to market its own competing products. [1299.246]
January 20
  • Handwell Corporation agrees to cease copyright infringement of the BIOS in the IBM PC, used in its compatible computer system. [1284.D4]
January
  • IBM sues Corona Data Systems for copyright violation of the IBM PC's BIOS. Corona agrees to cease its infringement. [481.31] [1284.D4]
  • Microsoft ships Microsoft BASIC (MacBASIC) and Microsoft Multiplan for the Macintosh. [123] [346.152] [389.28]
(month unknown)
  • Digital Research introduces CP/M-68K, for use on Motorola 68000 processor-based computers. [880.71]
February 6
  • Software Arts files a lawsuit against Visicorp to end its contract over rights to market Visicalc, claiming Visicorp failed to market the product adequately. [1286.D4]
February 14
  • Lotus Development introduces the Symphony software application, a hopeful successor to Lotus 1-2-3. Symphony adds word processing, communications, and expanded record keeping to the features of Lotus 1-2-3. Price is to be US$695 when released. [1288.D1] [1289.D4] [1299.248]
February
  • Microsoft releases Multiplan v1.1 for the PC. [346.111]
  • Electronic Arts releases the Seven Cities of Gold game for the Commodore 64. [241.108,112]
February 21
  • IBM files a lawsuit against Eagle Computer for copyright violation of the BIOS used in the IBM PC. Eagle agrees on the same day to cease shipments of the infringing computers. [203.23] [1339.D13]
March
  • Ashton-Tate announces Framework for the IBM PC. It is integrated software combining word processing, database management, financial modelling, business graphics, outline processing, in a windowing environment. Price is expected to be about US$700. [346.266] [650.74] [912.56] [950.9]
  • Microsoft releases MS-DOS 2.1 for the IBM PCjr. [346.265]
  • Microsoft releases MS-DOS 2.11. It includes enhancements to better allow conversion into different languages and date formats. [346.253,266]
  • Microsoft decides to temporarily shelve work on a new spreadsheet (Excel) for the PC, and concentrate on a version for the Macintosh. [346.157] (mid-year [1149.281])
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(month unknown)
  • Computer Software Associates introduces the 64 Doctor diagnostic software for the Commodore 64. [1076.15]
  • IBM introduces DisplayWrite 1 for the IBM PC. Price is US$95. [912.54] [950.10]
  • IBM introduces DisplayWrite 2 for the IBM PC. Price is US$299. [912.54] [950.10]
  • IBM introduces PCWriter for the IBM PC. Price is US$199. [912.54]
  • MicroPro International introduces the CorrectStar spell checker for MS-DOS, for US$195. Former name was SpellStar. [912.54]
April
  • Microsoft ships Multiplan 1.01 for the Macintosh. [912.44]
  • Microsoft France releases Multiplan for the IBM PC. [346.118]
  • Microsoft releases Microsoft Word 1.1 for DOS. [346.131] (October 1983 [346.265])
(month unknown)
  • Sales of WordStar to date: about 800,000, according to MicroPro International. [951.33]
  • Borland International introduces Turbo Pascal for the IBM PCjr. Price is US$49.95. [950.10]
  • Lotus Development releases the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet program for the IBM PCjr, for US$495. [951.33]
May
  • Microsoft ships software developer kits for Windows. [909.229]
May 14
  • Ashton-Tate introduces the dBase III relational database program for 16-bit IBM PC-compatible computers. [951.50] [1345.D4]
May
  • Quarterdeck Office Systems officially launches DESQ, a text-based windowing environment for running DOS programs. [346.181] (January [477.159])
  • Phoenix Software Associates begins licensing its IBM PC compatible ROM BIOS to computer manufacturers. [912.10] [1299.265]
  • Activision releases the Pitfall game for the Commodore 64. [243.74]
  • Activision releases the Beamrider game for the Commodore 64. [243.74]
June
  • At Microsoft, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer write an internal applications strategy memo on the company's commitment to the graphical user interface, on the Macintosh and for Windows. [686.148] [1299.256]
  • Ashton-Tate ships dBase III. [346.266]
  • Activision releases The Activision Decathlon game for the Commodore 64. [243.74]
  • Activision releases the H.E.R.O. game for the Commodore 64. [243.74]
  • Activision releases the Toy Bizarre game for the Commodore 64. [243.74]
(month unknown)
  • Visicorp introduces the FlashCalc spreadsheet program for the Apple II, for US$99. [951.10]
  • Apple Computer releases ProDOS. [218]
  • Foxbase releases Foxbase software for MS-DOS. [494.6]
  • Microsoft introduces the MS-NET operating system. [1186.25]
  • Activision introduces the Ghostbusters game for personal computers. Price for Commodore 64 is US$34.95; for Apple II US$39.95; for Atari US$29.95. The game is based on the movie of the same name. [243.52] [1128.60] [2346.102]
  • Random House releases The Alpine Encounter game for the Commodore 64 in the US. Price is US$39.95. [335.62]
  • Spinnaker releases the Swiss Family Robinson game for the Commodore 64 in the US. Price is US$26.95. [335.62]
  • Electronic Arts releases the Dr. J and Larry Bird Go One-on-One game for the Commodore 64. Electronic Arts paid Julius Irving and Larry Bird each $21,000 fee for use of their names and images. [241.112] [2636.265]
  • subLogic releases the Flight Simulator game for the Commodore 64. [809.22]
  • MicroProse releases the F-15 Strike Eagle flight simulator game in the United States. [1068.8]
  • Electronic Arts releases the Archon II: Adept game for the Commodore 64 in the USA. The game was developed by Freefall Associates. [241.108]
  • At an IBM strategy conference in Boca Raton, IBM decides its future PC operating system course to be co-developing OS/2 with Microsoft. Three choices turned down are promoting IBM's own CP/X86 (portable code, virtual memory, multitasking, "Mermaid" GUI), licensing CP/X86 to Microsoft, and adopting Unix. [606.74]
  • Electronic Arts releases the Murder on the Zinderneuf game. The game was developed by Freefall Associates. [241.109]
  • Muse Software releases the Beyond Castle Wolfenstein game for personal computers in the USA. [1473.94]
  • Sierra On-Line releases the Mickey's Space Adventure game for personal computers. [1474.77]
  • Sierra On-Line releases The Dark Crystal game. [1474.77]
  • Activision releases Pitfall II: Lost Caverns for various systems. [1540.49]
  • Infocom releases the Planetfall software for personal computers in the USA. [2229.119]
  • Jim Button decides to leave his US$50,000 per year job at IBM to work full-time at his US$500,000 per year Buttonware shareware hobby-turned-business. [618.245]
August 14
  • Microsoft releases MS-DOS 3.0 for PCs. It adds support for 1.2 MB floppy disks, and bigger (than 10 MB) hard disks. [117] [130] [146] [748.29] [1299.268]
August
  • IBM introduces the PC/IX operating system for the IBM PC AT. The software is based on UNIX System III from AT&T. [81]
  • IBM announces TopView, a DOS multitasking program. [35] [383.14] [618.273] [1299.269]
  • Visicorp sells VisiOn to Control Data. [484.D3] [1299.245] (August 1983 [2605.15])
September
  • Microsoft begins work on the Windows version of Word. [1701.333]
  • Digital Research announces its Graphics Environment Manager (GEM) icon/desktop user interface for 8086- and DOS-based computers. [9] [1639.108] (October [346.266]) (November [477.159])
September 25
  • IBM makes a major software announcement of 31 programs for its personal computers. There are two series of programs, the IBM Business Management Series, for US$695 each, and the IBM Personal Decision Series, for US$150-250 each. [1354.D8]
October
  • Microsoft releases Microsoft Word 1.15 for DOS. [346.131]
  • Microsoft gives a demonstration of the final version of Windows to IBM. For the third time, IBM is not interested. [45]
(month unknown)
  • Artificial Intelligence Research Group releases the Eliza psychotherapy game for the Commodore 64. It is the same as the original program created in 1965 by Dr. Joseph Weizenbaum. [1999.92]
  • The Avalon Hill Game Company releases the London Blitz bomb disposal simulation game for the Commodore 64. [1999.96]
  • Epyx releases the Breakdance game for the Commodore 64. Price is about US$30. [1999.94]
November 12
  • Lotus Development officially announces Jazz for the Macintosh 512K, a five-in-one application suite incorporating spreadsheet, database, graphics, word processing, and communications functions. [346.159] [1149.285] [1299.D5] [1357.D5
November 14
  • At the Comdex show, Ashton-Tate announces revised versions of dBase II and Framework. [1358.D5]
November
  • Satellite Software International ships WordPerfect 4.0 for US$500. [330.108] [502.49]
  • Microsoft releases MS-DOS 3.1 operating system. It adds support for Microsoft networks. [130] [146] [346.254] [346.267] (March 1985 [748.29] [1897.128])
(month unknown)
  • Strategic Simulations releases the Rails West! railroad development game for the Commodore 64. Price is US$39.95. [1999.124]
  • Strategic Simulations releases the Broadsides naval battle game for the Commodore 64. Price is US$39.95. [1999.124]
  • Strategic Simulations releases the President Elect game for the Commodore 64. Price is US$39.95 [1999.124]
  • Strategic Simulations releases the Computer Quarterback game for the Commodore 64. Price is US$39.95. [1999.124]
  • Strategic Simulations releases the Breakthrough in the Ardennes German World War II simulation game for the Commodore 64. Price is US$59.95. [1999.124]
  • MicroProse Software releases the Mig Alley Ace combat/flight simulator game for the Commodore 64. Price is US$34.95. [1999.125]
  • Random House releases the Snoopy's Skywriter Scrambler word game for the Commodore 64, and Apple II. Price is US$39.95. [139.108]
  • Progressive Peripherals & Software releases the Wizard Expansion Set for the Commodore 64. Price is US$29.95. [335.54]
  • MicroProse releases the Spitfire Ace game for the Commodore 64. Price is US$29.95. [335.54]
  • Gamestar releases the On-Field Football game for the Commodore 64. Price is US$31.95. [357.60]
  • Mastertronic releases The Quest for the Holy Grail game for the Commodore 64. Price is US$9.95. [335.59]
Year
  • Worldwide spreadsheet sales for the year: 1,169,000 units. [627.73]
  • Market share of spreadsheet software for the year: Lotus 1-2-3 43%. [627.73]

End of 1984. Next: 1985.
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