I agree to a point Sir Chancealot, but I believe that the advent of the interoperability of his software was precipitated upon the compatibility to
the IBM equipment de facto standard.
I am of an age where I fondly remember spending hours programming a ZX80/81 in 1k haha - hell, I even remember using the Atari BASIC on the games
IBM forged the way ahead for MS, by virtue of the rollout of DOS and the subsequent market exposure. The market exposure meant that the other
manufacturers converted to the IBM de facto standard (by and large) because back then, IBM really was Big Blue and pre-eminent.
He exploited that and well done to him. However, this was a natural progression of the market rather than a "leap ahead" in any altruistic way.
Clive Sinclair was a man ahead of his time as he really did put a "personal computer" in the ordinary home at an affordable price.
In big business, software was abstracted from hardware by the introduction of affordable compilers. Don't forget, big business back then was still
keying in their programs via punched cards or "ticker tape" and a lot of machines still used machine code or if you were lucky, assembly language.
The likes of BASIC and COBOL abstracted software from the hardware.
On a smaller scale interoperability was an effect of IBM market dominance. Convergence of a de facto standard meant that many machines simply
operated in a common way, however, even though the software was abstracted from the hardware, you weren't abstracted from the OS.
The advent of the PC within the UK was started with the ZX80/81 using a proprietary OS - Swiftly followed up by Commodore and the VIC20/C64. However,
it is fair to say that, the C64 was way ahead of its time here as it used shadow RAM such that a completely different OS could be loaded at boot time
as long as it was 6502 compatible. It is no different today. Windows for your average PC is not going to load on an Apple
"We don't care what hardware you have, we want you to run Microsoft products." - Yeah as long as it is running Microsoft OS. The concept of a
virtual environment hadn't been introduced as yet - No Java engines to abstract the user from the OS. It was still a proprietary market, just that
IT companies could see where the bucks were headed and fell into line.
Even today, things are not interoperable. Life looks easy because there is a touch of Java engine about the world and the vast majority of PCs run
Windows. The OS abstracts from the hardware but you're not abstracted from the OS. Sure, software has been ported to other OS, but, a port is a
port and not an abstracted piece of software.
I do completely agree that Microsoft was the first true software company in that, it is the only thing they did. They didn't need to limit it to
specific hardware vendors because IBM's de facto standard was already a gravy train.
Mind you, that being said and done, I have a feeling that we're both old enough to know that there hasn't been anything innovated in the IT world
since the internet was created. Everything else is just an extension of what already existed with a bright shiney new label attached to it. Who
needs innovation when you've got buzzwords?