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.


  • Microsoft releases MS-DOS 3.2. It adds support for 3.5-inch 720 kB floppy disk drives. [130] (December 1995 [146]) (March [346.254])
  • At the Winter CES, Berkeley Softworks introduces the GEOS graphical operating system for the Commodore 64. [814.38] (spring [804.19]) (April [817.43] [1999.43]) (1984 [909.236])
  • Microsoft buys Cytation, which is producing the Bookshelf CD-ROM software for Microsoft. [1299.338]
  • Lotus Development announces it would support Microsoft Windows with future product releases. [1133.22]
  • Microsoft releases MS-DOS 3.25. [346.268]
  • Robert and Phyllis Jacob start the Cinemaware company, to create adult-oriented software for the Amiga. [892.66]
  • Eric Graham shows his "Juggler" demo animation on the Amiga, showing the Amiga's capabilities of ray-traced animation merged with digitized sound. (This program is the foundation of the Sculpt 3-D software later released by Byte by Byte.) [442.31] [1145.31] (December [705.57])
  • MaxiSoft ships MaxiDesk, the first desktop organizer for the Amiga. [1167]
  • Two months after releasing Microsoft Windows, Microsoft has shipped 35,000 copies. [1133.22]
January 19
  • The first virus program for the IBM PC appears, called the Brain. It infects the boot sector of 360 kB floppy disks. [1230.56] [1805.23] (1987 [1260.193])
  • Apple Computer releases System 3.0 operating system for the Macintosh. It includes RAM cache, Hierarchical File System, and laser printer support. [1559] [1648.54] [1886.67] [1897.128]
(month unknown)
  • Control Data releases the VisiOn Applications Manager 2.0. [909.236]
  • Simon & Shuster introduces the Star Trek: The Kobayashi Alternative game for the Commodore 64. [814.38] [351.14]
  • Quarterdeck Office Systems ships DESQview 1.1. [130]
  • Quarterdeck Office Systems ships DESQview 1.2. [130]
  • Microsoft releases a French version of Microsoft Windows 1.02. [346.268]
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  • Microsoft urges MS-DOS program developers to adopt the programming rules of Windows, to ensure they work under future versions of DOS and Windows. [1133.22]
  • Satellite Software International ships the Student WordPerfect software for US$75. [330.108]
  • Microsoft releases Microsoft Word 3.0 for DOS. [346.131] [502.49]
June 10
  • IBM and Microsoft sign a Joint Development Agreement on operating system software development. (They announce the agreement in August.) [1299.285]
  • Reference Software International introduces the Grammatik spelling and grammar checker for Windows. [1049.150]
(month unknown)
  • Software Publishing introduces the Harvard Graphics presentation graphics software for DOS. It is the first such product in its field. [1059.100]
  • Adobe introduces Adobe Illustrator, a PostScript drawing tool, for the Macintosh. [618.226] (1987 [1077.136])
  • Mathcad 1.0 is released. [1000.55]
  • Phil Katz creates the PKZip/PKUNZip programs for creating compressed file archives on PC computers. [1055.18]
  • Activision releases Aliens: The Computer Game. [243.52]
  • At the World Microcomputer Chess Championship, the Coffeehouse Chess Monster software is deemed the best personal computer chess program. [241.72]
  • In Russia, Alexey Pajitnov creates the Tetris game on an Electronika-60 computer. [1217.152]
  • Data East files a lawsuit against Epyx, claiming Epyx's World Karate Championship game violates Data East's copyrights on Karate Champ. (In 1987 a court rules for Data East, but in 1988 an appeals court rules in favor of Epyx.) [817.21] [2636.368]
  • Microsoft releases QuickBASIC 2.0. [1299.324]
  • Electronic Arts releases Deluxe Video desktop video software for the Amiga. [441.57]
  • Electronic Arts releases the Racing Destruction Set software for personal computers in the USA. [2229.118]
  • Byte by Byte releases Sculpt 3-D for the Amiga, the first 3-D modelling program to ship for the Amiga. [442.35] [1145.35]
  • In New York, IBM informs Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer that TopView would no longer be part of CP DOS (OS/2). [1299.321]
July 22
  • Software Publishing introduces the PFS:Professional Series, consisting of a word processor (US$199), a database filing system (US$249), and a spreadsheet program (US$249), and the PFS:First Choice software incorporating basic versions of all three functions for beginners, for US$149. [1394.D4]
  • Microsoft announces Microsoft Works software for the Macintosh. [346.268]
August 22
  • IBM and Microsoft announce a Joint Development Agreement for operating system development. The agreement was signed in June. [1299.285]
  • MaxiSoft ships MaxiPlan, the first Excel-class GUI spreadsheet program for the Amiga. [1167]
(month unknown)
  • Access Software releases the Leader Board golf game for the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, and Atari 800. Price is US$39.95. [154.66]
  • Peter Norton Computing releases the Norton Commander for the IBM PC. Price is US$75. [154.66]
  • Apple Computer releases AppleWorks 2.0. [218]
  • Microsoft releases Microsoft Works for the Macintosh. [1299.328]
  • Quarterdeck Office Systems ships DESQview 1.3. [130] [909.230]
(month unknown)
  • Electronic Arts releases the DeluxePaint II software for the Amiga. [448.27]
  • WordPerfect ships WordPerfect 4.2 for US$500. [330.109] [502.49]
  • Microsoft releases MS-DOS 4.0 to Wang Laboratories in the US, and to ICL outside the US. It features multitasking of two applications within 640 kB RAM. (This is not the same as DOS 4.0 released by IBM in 1988.) [1299.324]
  • At the AmiEXPO, Impulse releases the Turbo Silver 1.0 graphics software for the Amiga. [442.37] [1145.37]
  • Ashton-Tate ships the one millionth copy of dBase. [346.269]
October 27
  • In New York City, Microsoft announces Microsoft Word 3.0 for the Macintosh. [346.139,269]
(month unknown)
  • Batteries Included releases the PaperClip II word processor for the the Commodore 64. Price is US$79.95. It includes spell checker and telecommunications capabilities. [2000.65]
  • Origin Systems releases the OGRE game for the Apple II. Price is US$39.95. [222.32]
  • Software Publishing Corporation introduces Harvard Presentation Graphics for the PC. [109]
  • At the Comdex show, Borland International announces Turbo BASIC. [1299.327]
  • Lotus Development releases a French version of Lotus 1-2-3 v2.0 in France. [346.118]
(month unknown)
  • At Microsoft, Steve Ballmer tries to convince Bill Gates to abandon Windows and put full emphasis on Presentation Manager for OS/2. Bill Gates decides against it. [1149.348]
  • Epyx releases the World Games game for the Commodore 64. Price is US$39.95 [1117.27]
  • Electronic Arts releases the Marble Madness game for the Commodore 64. Price is US$29.95. It is based on the arcade game. [241.110] [1117.27]
  • Cherry Image introduces the Diablo game for the Commodore 64. Price is US$29.95. [1117.102]
  • MicroProse Software releases the Gunship game for the Commodore 64. Price is US$34.95. [1117.104]
  • WordPerfect ships the WordPerfect software for the Apple IIgs for US$180. [330.109]
  • Worldwide spreadsheet software sales: 1,293,000 units. [627.73]
  • Market share of spreadsheet software for the year: Lotus 1-2-3 62%. [627.73]

End of 1986. Next: 1987.
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